Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) is emerging as a vital part of hybrid networking strategies, providing fast and reliable broadband services where fiber isn’t cost-effective. In this blog we look at how service providers can onboard customers more effectively, and why maintaining quality of service is essential for successful FWA deployment.
Offer easy FWA installation and onboarding
A key benefit of FWA is the ability to quickly and cost-effectively install the technology, with recent research from Nokia revealing that 83% of customers value its self-installation capabilities.
Successful self-installation requires service providers to be able to advise customers on equipment placement and positioning, as well as to triage any problems associated with either the customer premise equipment (CPE) or the WiFi footprint.
Customers often blame their CPE and become frustrated by it, but subsequent tests show this equipment was working as expected and was not the issue. To avoid the cost and customer frustration associated with this scenario, service providers need to improve both their triaging of problems, as well as their ability to remotely and accurately test and diagnose end-to-end quality of service. This means understanding how the mobile network (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G NSA, 5G SA) is performing as well as FWA access points (including outdoor units and gateways), home networks, services and connected devices (such as smartphones, laptops and smart objects).
How Subtonomy helps:
Whether operators are using engineers to install FWA equipment or empowering smart self-installation, Subtonomy’s tools provide the detailed and holistic insight required to make installation and onboarding easier and more effective. The information provided about the mobile network enables operators to provide detailed guidance on where to place customer premises equipment to get optimal service performance. This enables customers to locate the best position for CPE through a mobile app, for example, or provides vital insight to engineers, speeding installation times and making them more productive.
Maintain service quality and move to QoS-based FWA
Successfully rolling out fixed wireless access (FWA) requires service providers to maintain a high level of service quality and accurately pinpoint where problems lie. FWA over 3G and 4G was usually deployed on a ‘best efforts’ basis; but with 5G FWA now accounting for 40% of deployments, service providers are increasingly looking to deliver quality-of-service (QoS) based FWA to compete with the speed-based tariffs of fixed broadband services.
The ability to offer service quality guarantees is critical to 5G FWA uptake, to meet customer expectations, and to avoid a deluge of customer complaints. But committing to such guarantees makes many service providers nervous, because supporting QoS-sensitive services such as UHD video requires a far higher and more precise level of quality control.
Four key capabilities are needed:
the ability to visualize end-to-end quality of experience (QoE) at both the service and customer level, as well as having the means to automatically and proactively detect and fix any issues affecting service quality.
the ability to lock FWA to an allocated network technology (such as 5G), band or cell to minimize the impact on normal mobile usage and maximise service quality. This ensures, for example, that the FWA outdoor unit only accesses the cell it’s been allocated to, avoiding poor service quality by preventing it from connecting to other (less optimal) cells.
the ability to triage and remediate any service quality complaints instantly, whether customers seek help via the call center or via digital self-service.
the ability to visualize how FWA services are impacting available capacity for all customers. If congestion begins to affect service quality, this insight is useful to network engineering so they can efficiently plan the deployment of extra capacity or densification of the network.
Proactive monitoring helps fix problems even before customers notice them, but requires a combination of mobile network, home and device insight. These insights can be fed into support systems, empowering intelligent and automated support. Where an issue is too complex for automatic remediation, ML and AI can suggest the next-best series of actions to agents, in order to quickly and effectively resolve problems, and optimize both customer and agent experience.
Customer notification is also an important (and variable) capability. Where a fix has the potential to impact the customer and they are engaged in an active data session, they usually prefer to know what is happening (and why) and approve the fix first. Customers are likely to become frustrated, for example, if their service provider automatically restarts their outdoor unit while they are in the middle of a gaming session or work conference, dropping their internet connection in the process, without prior notification. However, customers are unlikely to expect notification if this same fix is applied in the middle of the night when there are no active data sessions.
How Subtonomy helps:
Subtonomy can collect data from a wide variety of sources including probes and FWA outdoor units’ network signalling data, consolidating all available data in a consolidated view to create a richer picture of what’s happening. This data can be used to monitor customers’ real service experience and highlight any congestion or other factors (such as equipment placement) affecting FWA performance. It can also be used to pre-analyze network capacity to help avoid congestion, and to understand how FWA usage is affecting other customers in the same area.
Find out more about successful 5G FWA support and roll out
It’s essential that FWA works as expected by customers, but also doesn’t degrade the experience of regular mobile customers. This requires a level of insight that many service providers haven’t traditionally had, including an end-to-end visualization of service performance from an individual customer and service level point of view.
With Subtonomy, you benefit from both a holistic network view and a detailed FWA subscriber view in ONE place.
We continuously work with our clients to ensure they have all the information they need at their fingertips to ensure an intelligent and proactive approach to FWA success.
Learn more about our support solution for FWA here or get in touch through the form below!