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5G and the Connected Home Experience: Challenges, Expectations and the Importance of Visibility

By Alex Passett

In late April, I penned two pieces related to 5G and even 6G; they covered excerpts of expert feedback, as well as connectivity standards that may be the horizon from the FCC. The topics feel hydra-esque, in a way. When one 5G-centric discussion is lopped off, several more seem to crop back up. Such is the way of shifting innovations in 2023, I suppose.

For the purposes of this read, let’s stick to 5G. Specifically, three new 5G-era challenges and how to generally go about solving them for higher-quality experiences in today’s connected homes.

In approaching these challenges and their solutions, we’re sharing insights from Amir Kotler, co-founder and CEO of Veego, a high-tech startup focused on bringing big breakthroughs in technology (like AI) to the fore of solutions in the automatic detection, analysis and resolution of connected-home device problems. Kotler explains it well; this is about visibility, contextual intelligence, and embracing changes in 5G. (Kotler holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of Manchester.)

Amir Kotler: Let’s start with this: The rise of 5G requires ISP preparation. It’s causing a paradigm shift regarding new network challenges because with increased bandwidth, unprecedented speed and very low latencies, 5G infrastructure can even compete with fiber.

5G Evolution: But presumably, there are both pros and cons here.

AK: Yes. On one hand, 5G can be a threat to those ISPs based on telephone and cable lines with the convergence of broadband internet and “cable” television. Yet on the other hand, for legacy and new ISPs, 5G can serve as more of a new promise for what we call the “Connected Home” experience that continues to evolve and expand.

For ISP and CSP customers, 5G harnesses a consumer promise for premium quality of experience (or QoE). Therefore, 5G customer expectations must be well-managed. The consumer anticipates a better user experience for their existing applications with fewer glitches and better online interactions. Plus, consumers will continue to use newer and more powerful applications for real-time network-based gaming, as well as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and whatever’s next for all their devices at home.

5G: So, is a ubiquitous QoE finally here?

AK: In the near future, faster 5G networks will connect all devices in and around our homes. Like smartphones today, all our laptops, smart TVs, home security systems, appliances and services will run through 5G. The new 5G-aware routers, IoTs, smart home appliances and mobile device connections will continue to grow in the coming years alongside a changing provider landscape and ecosystem.

And with all of the 5G hype and performance expectations, it’s very important for every content service provider to ensure a great Connected Home experience that can evolve with the changing home environment. To ensure ISPs are prepared these Connected Home changes, think about how 5G can affect network services, customer satisfaction and user experiences.

5G: So, the three challenges you outline for 5G-era content service providers. What are they?

AK: First, meeting extremely high 5G customer expectations. New 5G capabilities are leading to very high-end user expectations and very low tolerance for glitches.

5G: Yes, we’ve heard that even slower speeds are basically synonymous with downtime for today’s users. So, at a glance, how can new expectations be continually met?

AK: ISPs and CSPs need improved QoE monitoring to understand and mitigate these issues. With AI and other state-of-the-art technologies, service providers stand to gain full visibility into internet user experiences in the Connected Home. They can even measure the quality of their customer experience for better user engagement with real-time automation and easily gatherable metrics on user experience.

Leaders in this space are capable of providing customers with improved performance of every single device, service and application consumed in the home. And with 5G, this becomes even more important; to match and exceed consumer expectations.

5G: What about the second challenge?

AK: Similar to consumers, new 5G-aware apps also have very low tolerance to issues with connectivity. So the challenge, then, is this: What’s required to manage new apps and high-performance 5G capabilities?

As new apps emerge for the Connected Home, the need for full visibility with advanced QoE monitoring and analysis increases. What’s required is new data that can be used to upgrade services, improve customer experiences and internet performance and usage. With contextualized historical data gathered in real-time, ISPs and CSPs can utilize valuable app and user insights to better prepare for and make upgrades to high-performance apps.

5G: And the third challenge?

AK: Troubleshooting 5G network complexity. 5G is a more complex and fragmented network with separation of backbone and last mile. Technical and sometimes even ownership challenges can come from this, and there are more potential points of failure along the delivery chain.

Here, too, can advanced AI technology address 5G complexity. AI can quickly detect device defects and automatically action fixes for device malfunctions with real-time root cause analysis that is both app-sensitive and device-sensitive. And with precision visibility into the home, providers can better gauge device and app performance, as well as the crucial services running on them. They help their staff enter 5G with the right tools – and with confidence – and they can even reduce churn (ARPU) and lower costs with real-time malfunction protection. They can go beyond the typical internet disruptions of latency and packet loss to measure disruptions from the perspective of consumer quality or QoE.

In summary, 5G makes advanced QoE monitoring and analysis essential for happy consumers and staff. With QoE, ISPs have the tools and the flexibility they need in order to troubleshoot malfunctions and collect new data for success in this ever-changing 5G landscape. They’re even equipped with the right algorithms to face parallel trends like increasing traffic encryption, which also makes "reading" into usage and QoE more difficult and requires a similar solution. With advanced AI-based solutions and full network visibility, ISPs and CSPs are many steps closer to being successful in the 5G Connected Home.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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