Device awareness is being talked about more and more amongst service providers today, particularly by those offering mobile data. What is it? Similar to location awareness, device awareness is visibility into what devices are on the network, what impact they are having on network resources and at what times of the day. Visibility to this data allows service providers to better understand how devices are impacting the network and offers the opportunity to better manage capex and opex while continuing to maintain a high quality of experience for their subscribers.
As you see below, this example taken from Sandvine’s Network Analytics product shows the total active handsets in a sample network and their corresponding bandwidth usage.
By having total visibility and control over their network, service providers can seize the opportunity to better manage and maximize their networks. For instance, they can consider partnering with device/application providers or offer subscribers more competitive and innovative pricing tiers. The marketing organization can also focus on delivering marketing campaigns that are tailored precisely to the segment that they wish to target. From an operational perspective, engineers can monitor and predict where and when QoE might be affected, due to specific devices and their demand on the network.
One use case that Sandvine has assisted with, using device awareness, is enabling service providers to offer a special tier to those customers wishing to tether their mobile devices. Tethering is the use of your cell phone or other Internet-enabled mobile device as a modem for another device, like a notebook or PDA. It enables you to go online from your laptop, for example, in situations where there’s no other means of Internet access. By being able to identify “tethering” devices, a service provider can offer a service tier or package that caters to the subscribers’ needs.
The case for device awareness will increasingly become a key component of proactive network management, helping service providers to maintain QoE today and plan for future expansions and new service offerings.