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February 15, 2019
Estimated reading time - 3 min

“It is imperative to first proactively determine which households will actually benefit from an extender, enabling Network Service Providers to better plan CAPEX investments.” said Bart Vercammen, Technicolor

A five-step plan will enable Network Service Providers (NSPs) to optimize capital – and operational- expenditure investments to improve subscriber’s Quality of Experience (QoE) in strategic and efficient ways. This according to Bart Vercammen, CTO of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) at Technicolor’s Connected Home division, who authored the white paper, Enhancing Wi-Fi QoE with Targeted Approach, presented at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2018, in Atlanta, Ga., October 22-25.

In the white paper, Vercammen unveils a five-step plan that enables NSPs to minimize CAPEX and OPEX outlays while enhancing the subscriber’s Wi-Fi QoE. The steps are:

  1. Initiate a Comprehensive Diagnostics Program: Develop Wi-Fi QoE visibility in the installed base.
  2. Develop Robust Radio Resource Management (RRM) and Self Organized Network (SON) Capabilities: This will help to proactively optimize the installed base. Technicolor field data, collected from millions of devices in a wide variety of environments, demonstrates how effective RRM, combined with SON, substantially reduces OPEX costs.
  3. Optimize CAPEX Strategies: This can be done by targeting specific older, less efficient gateway models to proactively identify those subscribers who can benefit from the deployment of extenders and determine which gateways should be replaced to enhance the customer’s QoE.
  4. Enable Self-installation Wherever Possible: Providers should focus on those solutions that require zero touch from the NSP technical support teams, while offering robust security in order to propel mass adoption. Solutions requiring professional installation slow adoption.
  5. Pursue Client Steering: The most effective steering solutions provide additional capacity and, therefore, a higher QoE for those customers who employ multiple access points.

According to Vercammen, the NSP industry has struggled with meeting customers’ QoE expectations for several years. Customer premises equipment providers have concentrated on increasing MIMO configurations with each new generation, seeking to increase maximum coverage and speeds from a single fixed location.

However, Wi-Fi extenders in the home have the industry moving away from a single point and toward multiple access points. As a result, customer premises equipment providers must determine how to deploy these additional devices while minimizing CAPEX and OPEX.

The challenge, from a QoE standpoint, is that multiple access points result in a search for the optimal roaming solution. But this focus is the wrong approach, according to Vercammen, extenders help in some instances, but in others, the presence of multiple extenders can complicate the QoE problem rather than solving it.

“It is imperative to first proactively determine which households will actually benefit from an extender, enabling an MSO to better plan its CAPEX investments,” Vercammen says.

As client devices deploy enhanced roaming algorithms — and the devices become more standardized over time — roaming solutions will become increasingly commoditized, enabling providers to further minimize CAPEX and OPEX impact while further enhancing QoE for subscribers. The smarter those client devices become the higher the emphasis on in-depth meaningful monitoring and diagnostics to keep ensuring the right level of QoE.

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