Fixed Wireless Subscriber Insights: Know Your Network

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by | November 1, 2019 | Networking

Know Your Network: Fixed Wireless Subscriber Insights

Welcome to the first installment of Preseem’s Know Your WISP Network blog series! This series of blogs will use the detailed metrics contained within Preseem’s latest Fixed Wireless Network Report. Our report leverages Preseem’s extensive data set of hundreds of real-world deployments across ISPs. While these insights can be applied to benchmark your business against the wider broadband ecosystem, they can also be used to attain a better understanding of the world of fixed wireless subscribers, networks, and equipment.

We begin our exploration of all things fixed wireless by examining a high-level overview of the WISP subscriber experience. To do this, we’ll examine fixed wireless subscriber insights that answer the following questions:

  • What is the average vs. peak download throughput for a typical fixed wireless subscriber?
  • How does the latency for a fixed wireless subscriber compare at peak vs. other times of the day?
  • What is the average daily download usage for a typical fixed wireless subscriber?

Continue reading to get the answer to these questions now, or click here for a free download of the entire report!

Download Throughput Data

Throughput refers to the network capacity (in bits/second) received or sent by each active subscriber at an indicated time period. Put simply, upload throughput is the rate/speed at which users send data across the internet. Conversely, download throughput is the rate/speed at which users receive data from the internet. The figure below compares the download throughput achieved by WISP subscribers during the busiest (peak time) against other times of the day.

Bar graph comparing subscriber download throughput rates at peak and non-peak times

We can see that the difference between peak and off-peak is surprisingly small. This indicates that, on the whole, subscriber throughput does not degrade significantly during busier times. It’s also apparent that the average fixed wireless internet subscriber uses a little over 3 Mb/s of data during peak times, compared to almost 4 Mb/s during other times. The 95th percentile demonstrates a similar result, with subscriber download throughput during peak times (11.0 Mb/s) being slightly less than during other times (11.4 Mb/s).

These results imply that WISP networks are not heavily oversubscribed. This means that networks can handle periods of congestion with relatively low degradation in subscriber QoE.

Network Latency Data

Latency is one of the most important metrics when it comes to QoE, as subscribers feel its effects immediately. Latency contributes to common nuisances, such as dropped calls, continuously buffering video, and web pages that constantly lag. To measure latency, Preseem tracks the round trip time (RTT) for individual TCP segments in the access network. This results in thousands of latency samples per subscriber per second. Preseem’s approach is fundamentally different than an ICMP ping-based latency measurement. This is because Preseem measures true end-to-end latency, including the latency in subscribers’ homes. The figure below compares the latency experienced by subscribers during peak time against other times of the day.

Bar graph showing subscriber latency data

Looking at the graph, it’s apparent that the difference in latency that occurs during peak and off-peak times is quite small. For example, looking at the latency within the 80th percentile, we can see that peak time latency hovers at 77.5ms. For all times, that number lies in the 70ms range. Not only is the difference between peak and off-peak times minimal, but these numbers also constitute “acceptable” latency values, as agreed upon by most network operators. Additionally, the small difference in latency between peak and off-peak times supports the notion that WISP networks are not heavily oversubscribed.

An important note: We collect these metrics from networks that use the Preseem platform to optimize latency and the subscriber experience. Therefore, the latency experienced by subscribers in networks without our optimization is likely significantly higher.

Subscriber Usage Data

Subscriber usage refers to the total number of bytes transferred by a WISP subscriber over a given day or month. When considering a subscriber’s QoE, knowledge of the total usage for a period is not very informative. This is because consuming a large amount of data during off-peak times is less impactful to perceived network quality than using a small amount of data during peak times. We’ve found that the average WISP subscriber’s download usage is 6.6 GB/day, or 196 GB/month. However, considering just the overall average disregards the significant variation of data usage that occurs between individual subscribers. As such, the figure below shows the proportion of subscribers that download a particular amount of data per day.

Chart showing daily download usage by percentage of subscribers

The individual usage amounts present a more interesting and comprehensive view of subscriber data usage than the overall average of download usage. For instance, we can see that just over 33% of subscribers download less than 1 GB of data per day, while over 11% of subscribers download more than 16 GB of data per day. This disparity, between low data users and high data users, is fairly significant, and reaffirms the notion that WISPs should offer different data plans tailored to different subscriber needs.

See how organizations in the fixed wireless industry are already using the subscriber insights contained in this year’s report. Read the Telecompetitor article here.

Are you interested in seeing other fixed wireless insights?

Preseem’s Fixed Wireless Network Report contains over 30 fixed wireless figures spanning across 26 pages. Best of all, it’s free!

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