After reigning for 8+ years as the standard for mobile broadband, 4G networks are about to be dethroned by 5G. 5G networks promise dramatically faster speeds, lower latency and massive machine to machine communications – but is this enough to ensure happy consumers?
Back in 2009, 4G was launched with the promise of delivering faster than ever Internet, leaving 3G behind in the dust. Sound familiar? Flash forward to today and it’s clear that the exponential growth of both mobile and fixed data, fueled by video and IoT, have rendered 4G unable to keep up.
Enter 5G; not just a bigger, better and faster 4G. It’s a brand-new architecture, designed from the ground up to support exciting new use cases, such as Extreme Broadband, Massive Machine to Machine Communications and Ultra-Low Latency
5G is the new savior – but can it deliver on this promise all by itself?
Quality of Service (QoS) vs. Quality of Experience (QoE)
To ensure QoS for these new use cases, the 5G architecture implements end-to-end network slicing. This enables the creation of virtual networks that receive dynamically allocated, end-to-end virtual resources to meet service-specific performance objectives. In this way, emergency services, for example, would receive a “slice” with higher priority than other, less critical, services and would always receive precedence when resources become constrained. This should, in theory, ensure higher QoS.
But there’s a catch.
Networks evaluate QoS by monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which reflect network measurements. KPIs don’t necessarily correlate to end-user QoE. It’s like verifying that your pipes don’t leak and concluding that the glass of water tastes good. For example:
- Streaming movies may meet certain KPIs, but the customers’ perceived QoE may vary depending on whether they’re watching from a TV or a small mobile device.
- Focusing on average end-to-end KPIs could cause a CSP to miss out on fine-tuning the individual session QoE of a premium package gamer.
A service-based network that optimizes network KPIs still does not guarantee higher end-user QoE even in 5G.
5G Power and Architecture Don’t Guarantee QoE
When resources inevitably become constrained, network slicing will not solve all these issues. There may be contention between services within a slice or between slices. Network KPIs do not provide the granular visibility into services, applications, users, devices and geography that are needed to accurately evaluate and optimize end-user QoE.
An integrated, advanced DPI/TDF functionality is needed for 5G operators to overcome these challenges, by incorporating capabilities such as:
- Real-Time Awareness of Applications, Services and Slices will enable optimization of inter-slice and intra-slice resource allocation to reach 5G quality of experience and performance targets, even as resources inevitably become constrained.
- Closed Loop Automation (CLA), powered by Machine Learning will make it possible to map granular usage data and network KPIs into Key Quality Indicators that enable optimized QoE, meeting SLA commitments and improving customer satisfaction.
Allot Solutions Can Help
The Allot Smart solution suite features the advanced DPI/TDF functionality needed to see, control and secure the network services you provide to consumers, enterprises, and even other CSPs. The suite is fully NFV compliant and 5G ready and can help you optimize and sustain end-user QoE, today and tomorrow, as you transition to the world of 5G.
If you are interested in learning about the best ways to execute 5G Security & Service Assurance, find out how Allot can help.