LatAm - Page 20

incognito_incognito 09/07/2014 15:40 Page 1 Measuring QoE et’s face it: it is becoming increasingly difficult to increase ARPU from cable TV services. Yet, fuelled by the availability of affordable over-the-top services and the popularity of IPconnected devices such as tablets, subscribers continue to push the limits of their data plans and have ever increasing expectations for the quality of their services. In a way, competition amongst service providers and the resulting race to the top in providing both faster and a higher variety of services, such as on-demand TV, has whet the consumer’s appetite for choice. It also opened the door for the delivery of OTT entertainment services, especially given that consumers are now willing to trade a lower price for lower video quality. As a result, pay-TV has essentially become a premium service where poor quality is not tolerated. In this environment, quality of experience (QoE) continues to be a top-of-mind issue for service providers worldwide. Though difficult to measure, QoE can be defined as whether TR-069 assures service a service provider is performance and boosts QoE delivering their promise to its subscribers, how reliable services are, and how quickly an issue expected to sustain an annual growth rate of can be resolved when a subscriber requests 6% through 2017. support. Or, put simply, QoE is how happy a To understand the impact of video subscriber is. streaming and video conferencing services on From an access network and a connected the network, service providers draw home perspective, QoE is predominantly information from various disjointed sources affected by bandwidth congestion and LAN such as SNMP utilisation measurements, issues within the home network. To improve subscriber complaints, and the length of time QoE is to not only understand the impact of between network upgrades. While the result OTT on network traffic and home network helps providers establish a basic but performance, but to sactively manage Internet incomplete understanding of network issues, it traffic and prevent issues from happening. does not equip them with the information they There’s no question that IP video is a need to make informed network investment bandwidth hog that strains networks, and this decisions. trend is expected to continue in an upward Fortunately for cable service providers, the trajectory. Globally, IP video is expected to technology to generate accurate bandwidth represent 79% of all Internet traffic by 2018, utilisation data already exists within the up from 66% in 2013. Netflix continues its DOCSIS framework. Internet Protocol Detail expansion into the European and Latin Record (IPDR) is a method of collecting and American markets and has grown its recording data traffic statistics that are international membership by 1.75 million in produced on a network. IPDR information the first quarter of 2014 alone, bringing its includes counters on data sent and received international total to 12.7 million subscribers. through specific interfaces, as well as service Meanwhile, the video conferencing market is flows required by certain applications like L 20 LATAM Briefing According to Incognito Software, a specialist provider of broadband device provisioning, IP address management, bandwidth monitoring, and service activation solutions, measuring and managing quality of experience is vital for cable TV providers in facing competitive threats. video streaming, voice, and social media. Because it is incorporated into the CableLabs DOCSIS protocol, a CMTS can be configured to produce information about IP-based service usage on a per cable modem basis. IPDR data provides consumption usage information about every subscriber device on a network. Unlike SNMP, IPDR uses a ‘push’ mechanism that imposes less strain on the network. The data is collected and periodically streamed to a collector and the CMTS waits until it has spare CPU cycles before it sends data, eliminating the possibility of disruption to normal operations. One collector receives IPDR data from a large number of CMTS units and should ideally have the ability to filter, analyse, and organise the data to turn it into accurate utilisation trends. Armed with this intelligence, providers can understand the impact of OTT services and make network investment where and when they are needed most. Even so, expanding the pipe is only half the congestion management equation, the other half is managing consumption and alleviating congestion. A research report conducted by Incognito Software on how service providers are managing the growth of OTT content found that a small handful of service providers have turned to video caching and strategic partnerships to help manage the increasing bandwidth consumption. Meanwhile, a majority of providers are turning to fair access policies and traffic shaping to alleviate congestion, but not without controversy. Over the last half a year, there has been the establishment of net neutrality legislation in various parts of the world. In April 2014, the European Parliament passed a law that allows providers to slow or block Internet access only when preserving network security, enforcing a court order, or mitigating temporary network congestion. When applied, the measure must not only be “transparent, non-discriminatory, and proportionate” but also should not last longer than necessary. In Brazil, the Marco Civil has not only established that