5 Key Requirements for Managed WLAN Services
July 3, 2014
In an earlier blog I wrote about the coming wave of Managed WLAN / Wi-Fi Services. This wave has started to build and may just be now entering the explosive growth stage. Managed WLAN presents a set of challenges to the service provider, whether it is the traditional telecom / cable operator or a specialist focused on a particular market segment. Here are 5 of the top requirement s for a successful service.
- Ease of deployment – managed Wi-Fi services must be easy to deploy. Cloud-based solutions have evolved to address many of the challenges, enabling a plug and play infrastructure that is easy to get up and running quickly. The best solutions fit different environments, whether indoor or outdoor areas, large or small, with a consistent architecture.
- Measuring the customer experience – a huge challenge is understanding the quality of the customer experience. Are end-users able to attach to the network? What data rate are they using? Can they achieve the performance that enable their applications to work well? Are they able to reach web sites and server locations and what is the quality of experience with those sites? The Wi-Fi network management system won’t tell you this without the assistance of a performance management solution.
- SLA-based reporting – most service contracts contain Service Level Agreement (SLA) metrics. Basic SLA metrics such as uptime and response time parameters are usually required, and now businesses are asking for SLAs pertaining to the customer experience (throughput, delay, jitter, packet loss, and voice quality). It helps when the WLAN performance dashboards and reports are organized to provide the SLA metrics so this information is easily conveyed.
- Centralized troubleshooting – a managed service that requires truck rolls to address issues is doomed to struggle with response times, finger pointing and costs. With comprehensive centralized management, issues can be detected proactively before the customer complains, and resolved without the time and cost to send someone on site. The best solutions provides ways to sectionalize issues – is it the client, the Wi-Fi or the wired network? Even more important is automated data analysis that can provide the steps required for problem resolution.
- Scalability – managed services are cost effective only if they can scale. A solution must support multiple customers and grow easily for large deployments. Many enterprise systems struggle with the concepts of hierarchy and information filtering, but solutions built with the service provider in mind incorporate these concepts into their architecture from day one.