Vodafone has said that ISPs need to “look beyond speed” and “make the network invisible so users don’t even know it is there“. The operator was speaking at the launch of a new project – Broadband Quality Experience Delivered (BQED) – that aims to “greatly enhance” the quality of experience broadband networks provide.
The Broadband QED project is being launched by the Broadband Forum, but it will be led by Vodafone and Predictable Network Solutions (PNSol). Rather than looking at service speeds, BQED will instead use Quality Attenuation to focus on “addressing factors such as latency, consistency, predictability and reliability.”
Quality Attenuation (QA) is a framework for capturing, measuring, managing and manipulating the performance aspects of networks, as well as the services they enable. Vodafone is understood to have already conducted QA trials over a range of fixed access technologies in its own network, which has helped them to identify performance characteristics that “traditional” packet layer performance techniques and tools failed to spot.
Gavin Young, Head of Voda’s Fixed Access Centre, said:
“As an industry we’ve increased the speed of broadband to one gigabit and beyond, which is a remarkable achievement, but we now have to look beyond speed.
Historically, we have looked at data rate and ping time but now, as new applications place more strain on networks, we need to make the network invisible so users don’t even know it is there – we want to get to a place where everything just works.
That means we need to improve other aspects of quality such as latency, consistency, predictability and reliability, ultimately moving from a fast network to an invisible network.”
Geoff Burke, Broadband Forum CMO, said:
“Our renewed focus on network quality of experience emphasizes Broadband Forum’s commitment to ensuring the whole network – from the Cloud Central Office to the Connected Home – is prepared for growing technologies and trends such as 5G and proliferation of connected devices.”
At this point all that talk about needing to “look beyond speed” is largely industry focused in its direction and most consumers have yet to gain access to Gigabit (1Gbps+) class broadband speeds. As such the idea of networks becoming “invisible“, from the perspective of many end-users, is still a long way off. But from a technology standpoint they’re thinking about the future, when “full fibre” and 5G networks could be so fast that you end up noticing other factors than the connection speed.
Initially the project is only expected to result in a study document, giving a comprehensive overview of BQED and its applicability to broadband networks. This will cover the theory, measurement technique, use-cases and benefits of the approach. Later a second phase will consider specific applicability to the various Broadband Forum Work Areas (new technologies, standards etc.).