According to a 2020 survey of over 400 broadband service providers, the most effective method of acquiring new customers is customer referral. With the increase in latency-sensitive connected smart devices in the home, and the rapid increase in video conferencing and streaming, customers are expecting more than just speed from their connectivity, they expect a great overall quality of experience.

“Wireless networks are prone to interference and congestion, however, by gaining better network control and optimisation, you can provide a better quality of experience to the subscriber, provide faster, more effective support and upsell packages to suit the users’ actual needs. With competitive packages readily available, unsatisfied users can easily move to alternative providers, increasing your customer churn,” says Teresa Huysamen, Wireless Business Unit Executive at Duxbury Networking, local distributors of Cambium Networks technology.

Wireless internet service providers (WISPs) tend to add more access points to solve the issue, which increases costs and interference. The quality of the link and throughput to the user is often not what is causing these poor experiences, but rather the applications running on the network that are unknowingly consuming the bandwidth, making troubleshooting difficult and time spent on support tickets longer. 

Quality of Experience (QoE) is a holistic approach to measure the level of delight or annoyance that a customer is experiencing with the entire service experience.

“The solution provides full control of throughput used by applications running on your network, such as streaming platforms, updates, and cloud backups, allowing for more throughput where needed such as VoIP calls, video conferencing, latency sensitive smart devices and gaming,” says Huysamen. 

Cambium Networks has introduced its new QoE solution aimed at retaining customers, specifically with the wireless internet service provider market in mind. “The Cambium Networks QoE solution allows you to better control and optimise the applications running on your network, without compromising customer privacy,” says Huysamen. 

The Cambium QoE solution uses Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) Acceleration, Per-user Rate Limiting, Traffic Shaping by Application, Application Insights, Denial of Service Detection and Automatic Congestion Detection to better allow network control and optimisation, without adding additional access point hardware. An inline TCP stack module responds on behalf of applications to minimise impact of network performance issues on end user applications. This improves buffering, slow browsing, lost or choppy audio during calls and high latency during online gaming. 

As wireless networks gain more subscribers, latency and packet loss increases. Most consumer services on the internet use TCP protocols, which is designed to ‘back-off’ when confronted with congestion, variability, and packet loss. In many cases this ‘back-off’ is too aggressive, reducing network efficiency and making applications slower than they need to be.

“The TCP Accelerator feature will show immediate improvements and significant reduction in support calls, improving data flows by 50–200% in slow networks. The software is deployed just behind the wireless access point providing a smooth consistent acknowledgement of all packets regardless of what is happening at the edge,” Huysamen explains.

Traffic Shaping per Application enables you to leverage deep packet inspection to identify application traffic and throttle the traffic by limiting lower priority applications from using all the bandwidth, allowing bandwidth for real-time applications like virtual meetings and video streaming, while reducing bandwidth for background applications such as updates.

Network operators can implement better bandwidth planning, and by using Per-User Rate Limiting they can create rate-limiting plans to match offered packages independent of application. Operators can also improve their service level agreements and customer satisfaction by preventing one user from utilising excessive bandwidth and slowing down other users.

“The QoE solution also provides you with valuable Application Insights, reducing support ticket resolution time by identifying high bandwidth-consuming applications, with details of when these applications are used. Quality of Service (QoS) can then be implemented based on application. This feature is available to use with the Cambium ePMP and cnPilot Wi-Fi 6 products with visibility on cnMaestro. This enables you to corelate application usage data to customer support calls and improve troubleshooting,” says Huysamen. 

With Denial of Service (DoS) Attack Detection the Cambium QoE solution can detect a DoS attack on any traffic traversing through the appliance and notifying you before a network outage or crash, giving you the ability to take corrective action in time to prevent major damage. 

Automatic Congestion Detection leverages machine learning algorithms that learn and identify congested end points, and automatically implement rules to improve end user experience.

“The Cambium Networks QoE solution integrates seamlessly with cnMaestro Network Management Software, as well as the Cambium’s fixed wireless and cnPilot portfolio. Third-party equipment and networks can also benefit from Cambium’s QoE solution, as it is equipment-agnostic. Cambium offers a 1 Gbps hardware appliance, as well as software solutions with subscriptions up to 100 Gbps.  It will improve the return on investment for network infrastructure and reduce support costs, with minimal impact and configuration management required,” Huysamen points out.  

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