Netrounds Test Agents on your Android device, your XBOX and even your Apple Watch
We were excited to announce the upcoming release of our newest version (2.18.0) of Netrounds today because with this upgrade comes an important new feature that will allow our CSP customers to obtain even greater customer perspectives and end-to-end views of their network, among many other benefits that I will dive into further.
Speedtest using Websockets is now supported for all HTML5 browsers, meaning your customers can use their smart watches (not that it would be conducive to use a browser on your watch, but you could!), their Xboxes or Playstations, their iPads, iPhones, and Macbooks, their TVs and PCs, their Androids – you name it! – to measure broadband speed in a controlled environment. They can do all of this without needing to download an app from the App Store or you having to install CPU-hungry software on devices prior to getting them into your customer’s hands. This also means that there is no potential customer training overhead or privacy worries that need to be taken into account.
Figure: Example architecture of customer-initiated Speedtest from wired or wireless device to Netrounds Test Agent in access or core network.
So, what exactly does this mean in terms of benefits for your customers?
If a customer is noticing any issues with their network performance, they can simply navigate to a URL , ideally via your operator self-service support page, from any fixed or wireless device with an HTML5 browser (IPv6 is supported as well) and initiate the test from their wired or wireless device to generate and send traffic to the Netrounds Test Agent located somewhere in the access or core network. Metrics and active KPIs measured through Speedtest include TCP download and upload bandwidth, round-trip delay and variance (TCP, ICMP Ping), packet loss (ICMP Ping), and more (see below).
Figure: Measurement results stored in Netrounds Control Center from new Speedtest with Websockets.
Your more tech-savvy customers could run Speedtests both from a handheld device and a wired PC, ruling out some potential causes on any wireless network performance issues and possibly finding the fault themselves. Approximately 95% of all problems, after all, are within the customer residence. I suppose that one good outcome of society’s increased screen addiction and use of tech as a social crutch is that many customers do use self-service portals and suggested best practices in an effort to avoid having to speak to another human.
And for you as a Communications Service Provider? Where will you see the benefits of Netrounds’ new Speedtest feature?
This new feature provides you with another extremely cost-efficient tool in your customer quality of experience arsenal. Upon installing new network devices in the customer premises, or even for enterprise services, technicians can use their smartphone to initiate a Speedtest as a first stage in turn-up testing. They may even need fewer test tools and training to ensure that network devices are in fact working correctly and customers will be happy with the service the very first time that they use it. This results in decreased CAPEX spend on hardware-based tools and less OPEX costs as training will not be needed on these multiple proprietary tools and calls to customer support for improperly configured devices are also reduced.
For problem resolution after the service has already been activated, this new feature will also potentially result in less truck rolls as customers can use Speedtest as a self-service tool and a first step in problem diagnosis. With Speedtest results in hand, support agents are able to start a conversation with more information and context on the issue that the customer is calling about and speed time to problem resolution. If a truck roll is indeed needed, less-skilled technicians and less-costly expertise will be needed in the field.
Figure: Netrounds customer-facing Speedtest site screenshot post-test.
Not only is this new feature helpful within your customer service and support organizations, it can also help with network planning and proactive problem resolution. All Speedtest results, including the subscriber that initiated them, are stored historically in your Netrounds Control Center.
Automatically consolidating Speedtest data in an external system, such as a SQM solution, via Netrounds’ complete read-write API with data such as wireless device location can allow you to set up notifications if a preset critical mass of Speedtests are launched within a certain radius. Upon receiving an alarm that this critical mass has been reached, your NOC staff can begin zeroing in on the potential fault by deploying active Netrounds Virtual Test Agents on links in that area to begin proactive problem resolution, ideally before any customers even pick up the phone to your customer support center.
Further to this, using historical data stored in Netrounds Control Center, network planning and upgrades, as well customer experience improvements, can also be made with more intelligent KPIs, such as Path MTU and retransmissions. For example, if a particular geography had a history of numerous Speedtest prompts and subsequent calls to customer support, this region may be ripe for placement of a Test Agent for continuous monitoring in the access network, especially if this is an area of Premium or high ARPU subscribers.
If you would like to test out the new Speedtest feature yourself, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a demo link. If you think that Netrounds would be fitting in your active test and assurance armory and would benefit from a one-on-one demo and deep dive, please let us know at email@example.com.
Watch the overview video explaining the new Speedtest feature and other updates with Netrounds version 2.18.0 here.
Version 2.18.0 will be generally available on January 3, 2017.
Kaela Loffler, Director, Marketing & Industry Alliances, Netrounds