Losing a network connection entirely is a worst-case scenario for an enterprise, but service “brown-outs” — defined as unexpected and unintentional drops in network quality — are expensive for businesses to deal with, according to a new survey by network and service assurance company Netrounds.
“Even before conducting the survey, we knew that network brownouts were common, but we were rather surprised by just how damaging they are to businesses,” said Mats Nordlund, CEO and co-founder of Netrounds.
Netrounds found that surveyed companies said that they had experienced more than 10 such brown-outs in the past two years, and damage costs — ranging from direct costs of restoration to lost productivity and revenue, and customer “badwill” costs — ranged from around $400,000 to more than $700,000 for larger enterprises. The high costs are mainly due to slow problem resolution, Netrounds found, with some companies able to solve more than half of brown-out issues in less than four hours, but others only getting to one-sixth of their issues in the same timeframe. And the company warned that due to the adoption of new technologies such as hybrid cloud, SD-WAN and network virtualization, the cost of brownouts is likely to dramatically increase — unless companies are also deploying active service assurance to reduce the incidence of brown-outs.
Netrounds said that actively mimicking customer behavior close to their locations and across both network and application layers without the deployment of active service assurance solutions. Top-performing companies with better network reliability track records were far more likely than others to either run active monitoring when a new connection or application launched, or run tests from a customer perspective prior to launch.
In other test news this week:
–Ookla Speedtest took a crowd-sourced look at mobile and fixed network speeds on a global basis — and it found that in a few places, 5G is already having a noticeable impact on mean download speeds, on a national basis. Read the full story here.
–Kaelus has introduced a new, higher power version of its 700 MHz iPA portable PIM tester for detecting passive intermodulation. The iPA-0707D has a maximum output power per carrier of 40 watts, as opposed to the typical 20 watts.
“Low-level external PIM is below the noise floor of standard spectrum monitoring instruments,“ said Tony Langelaan, product line manager for Kaelus Test & Measurement in a statement. He added that the higher transmit power levels “significantly increase the PIM level” so that it is more likely to be detectable.
-U.K. network operator EE is continuing its 20-year relationship with software testing company Qualitest over the next two years, as it shifts toward 5G. Qualitest said that it will be supporting “delivery of the backbone to [EE’s] digital infrastructure, including the further development of their 5G offering. The renewed and expanded contract supports the delivery of innovative products and services across [EE’s] entire network, including expanding their 5G network, and further enhancing their Emergency Services Network offering.” The scope of the contract also includes “testing aspects of BT’s mobile network,” Qualitest said.
Qualitest noted that it worked with EE in its previous incarnation as Orange, through Orange’s merger with T-Mobile to become EE and the carrier’s acquisition by BT three years ago.
Qualitest recently opened a new headquarters in London, which will serve as a hub for the company’s expansion in the region. Qualitest said that as a result of a capital influx from Bridgepoint taking a stake, it expects to “accelerate its acquisition strategy and global expansion.” It also plans to double the number of quality engineers in its U.K. workforce over the next three years.
–Rohde & Schwarz reported that it has validated 41 test cases for 5G New Radio protocol conformance with its CMX500 radio conformance tester. Those tests are in Frequency Range 1 (sub-6 GHz) and LTE band combinations, the company said, and were presented at the Global Certification Forum’s Conformance Agreement Group meeting in July.
-Some intriguing mobile broadcast field tests were detailed this week by Sinclair Broadcast Group subsidiary ONE Media 3.0. The field testing, conducted in late August in the Baltimore, Maryland area, was aimed at validating and performance assessment of some aspects of the Advanced Television Systems Committee’s ATSC 3.0 standard. It primarily revolved around advanced broadcast techniques and simultaneous delivery of multiple multiplexed signals to a combination of mobile and fixed devices — including mobile devices in vehicles — but LTE came into play as well.
ONE Media 3.0 said that some of the live field tests included hybrid delivery of the high-definition content using LTE links.
“While 540p video was delivered directly through ATSC 3.0 broadcast, 1080p HD HDR was made possible with the enhancement layer delivered through the LTE link during the mobile reception,” ONE Media 3.0 said. “Seamless switching of reception between ATSC 3.0 broadcast and broadband was also shown ensuring the best entertainment experience for the end-users.”
ONE Media worked with the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), InterDigital and Technicolor on the ATSC 3.0 field testing.
-Device management company Friendly Technologies has come out with a Speed and Latency Testing Tool aimed at recipients of federal funds for broadband expansion. Friendly said that the new solution is part of the Friendly TR-069 device management platform, and was developed in response to demand from its existing U.S. customers, including broadband carriers and wireless internet service providers which use its platform for remotely managing customer premise equipment. The new tool that it supports the testing and reporting that is required by the Federal Communications Commission; companies which receive FCC funding have to meet specific requirements in terms of the speeds of their deployments.
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