Monitoring the Last Mile with Preseem

Monitoring the Last Mile blog title image

Monitoring the Last Mile

How Preseem Can Complement Your Network Monitoring System

It’s an all-too-familiar problem.

A subscriber calls your support team complaining that their internet is slow or not working.

A member of your Level 1 support team accesses your network monitoring solutions to try and diagnose the issue, but can’t find anything infrastructure-related on the network that might be causing the problem and certainly can’t trace it to the subscriber’s home.

Each step in the resulting escalation process means more time spent on a single support issue, more miles on the road for your techs, more money out of your company’s pocket and, most importantly, a subscriber who grows unhappier with every passing hour that their internet remains slow.

Multiply this by the number of support calls you get each week, and you may notice that you have a growing problem on your hands. Your support team is overworked and stressed, your service techs are logging too much windshield time, and your technical experts are working evenings and weekends trying to clear tickets.

Worst of all, your subscribers are canceling due to ‘poor service’ and spreading the word that your company is unreliable.

If this sounds familiar, what may be missing from your tech stack is a solution that can monitor subscriber Quality of Experience (QoE) all the way down the last mile to the subscriber’s home.

This system would of course be able to identify network issues such as high latency or access point (AP) issues but can also tell you when the problem might be with the subscriber’s home internet connection or router. This visibility can help your team diagnose and fix the issue faster, increasing first-call resolution and subscriber happiness.

Preseem is a unique Edge Network QoE solution that enables proactive management of fixed wireless and other networks to achieve higher subscriber satisfaction while lowering operational costs.

So how exactly does a system like Preseem differ from a Network Monitoring Solution (NMS)? Here are some essential distinctions.

Track the Last Mile

A Network Monitoring System will tell you whether devices are up or down and how much data is flowing through them. QoE monitoring, on the other hand, shows whether your subscribers are having a good experience or not, with clear insights on any issues they may be having.

For example, a typical NMS measures the ‘middle mile,’ tracking network latency and the health of network devices, which is ideal for tracking infrastructure issues such as equipment problems that may be affecting the service being delivered to subscribers.

However, NMS methodologies are typically not practical for edge network (last mile) monitoring for several reasons, including:

  • The sheer volume of subscribers makes it too expensive to monitor all end user equipment
  • There’s no easy way to tell if a subscriber’s equipment is off by design, e.g. if they went on vacation
  • Edge monitoring is “past the demarc,” i.e. the demarcation point where responsibility for keeping the equipment running falls on the end user

As a result, it’s difficult to get immediate and accurate insight into a subscriber’s true experience.

A Network QoE solution, on the other hand, allows providers to measure latency all the way to the subscriber’s device, such as a smart TV or gaming console, providing an accurate picture of their QoE and speeding up the diagnosis of any issues they may be experiencing. 

Monitoring the Last Mile - A Look at the Preseem Platform

Preseem is a QoE solution that allows WISPs to diagnose network issues. 

This may include viewing peak download and upload rates to confirm that your network is delivering the expected bandwidth for the subscriber, gathering information on the sector and tower each subscriber is connected to, and much more.

An end-to-end QoE solution proactively improves subscriber experience through smart traffic shaping, avoiding bottlenecks in the network.

Crucially, last-mile tracking can also empower your front-line support team with the ability to identify issues with the subscriber’s home connection, meaning happier subscribers, less escalation and stress, and you might just get your evenings and weekends back!

This ability to provide last mile visibility can save time on troubleshooting and increase first call resolution while reducing frustration and costly truck rolls. It’s like having another in-house expert join your team to not only diagnose issues but fix them before they arise.

“Preseem has been an outstanding addition to our tool kit. It provides real-time, easy-to-find data regarding each one of our subscribers. It has helped us resolve customer support requests faster and more accurately. Previously, if a customer had a speed/latency complaint, we relied on NMS graphs which polled devices at large intervals and really did not provide an accurate picture of what was happening. Now, Preseem gives us what we need for a near-instantaneous diagnosis, allowing us to resolve the issue with confidence.”
Shawn Tarlo
Technical Support Lead, E-vergent Wireless, Wisconsin

Change from Reactive to Proactive

Unlike an NMS, a QoE solution doesn’t use ping tests to assess the network when issues occur. These can often provide skewed results and don’t give an accurate picture of subscriber QoE.

Instead, it can provide proactive network management tools such as Active Queue Management (AQM) to ensure that subscriber QoE and internet speed stays consistent, even if household members are simultaneously watching Netflix, taking part in a video call, gaming online, and so on.

Man playing online video game and pumping his fist

AQM helps subscribers have a great QoE, no matter how internet-intensive the activity.

Basic NMS functionality is necessary for reactive fixes but less helpful for proactive management of your network. Optimized traffic shaping allows you to stay ahead of the game and identify and solve problems before the subscriber calls, cancels, or worse, tells friends about their bad experience.

The resulting reduction in subscriber churn can mean substantial savings. For example, our customer E-vergent Wireless saw a 28% reduction in subscriber cancellations in six months using Preseem, resulting in about $27,000 in retained revenue.

“Preseem helped us reduce our weekly support calls by over 25%. We have also noticed that we are seeing fewer cancellations where the customers are changing providers. One other thing that Preseem has done is given us a fantastic view of where upgrades need to happen … causing our priorities to shift in our proactive network management.”
Jason Pond
CEO, Grizzly Broadband, Montana

Simplify the Troubleshooting Process

When we talk about using an NMS, the reality is that you’re likely actually using multiple network monitoring solutions to perform various tasks. This can make diagnosing ‘my internet is slow’ complaints tricky because it may involve logging into multiple systems to try and resolve a standard support call.

It can also require the dreaded ‘stare and compare,’ a time-consuming process involving staring at multiple screens, graphs or printouts and manually comparing data to try and arrive at a solution.

This ‘paralysis by analysis’ can be avoided with a solution that provides easy-to-access metrics that summarize network performance while also providing insights into subscriber behavior and upload/download rates.

A Network QoE solution like Preseem can help save time in these situations by offering a birds-eye view of your network’s QoE across APs and towers, while also empowering you with the tools you need to proactively find and address issues ahead of time, before they begin affecting your customers.

Monitoring the Last Mile with Preseem's Wireless Summary

Preseem’s Wireless Summary showcases QoE performance trends across towers, APs, and subscribers.

These could include identifying reduced capacity due to interference, backhaul congestion affecting APs, plan enforcement shapers adding high latency, and much more.

One additional system that you’ll certainly have in place is a billing platform such as Sonar, Powercode, Azotel, or others. Though a Network QoE solution won’t replace the need for a billing system, those that include integrations with common billing platforms can help reduce manual tasks and increase overall efficiency.

For example, Preseem integrates with a variety of popular billing systems. Our customers have found that taking advantage of these integrations can help automate their subscriber plan management and enforce limits without affecting QoE, reducing manual data entry, and helping to eliminate human error that affects the bottom line.

“Preseem is worth every penny. It has helped us troubleshoot customers’ speed complaints. It also has helped make us more money by knowing when to upgrade that customer’s plan.”
Kent Urwiller
CEO, Prairie Hills Wireless

All of this said, let’s be clear: we’re not in any way suggesting that you throw your existing NMS solutions out the window and go strictly with an Edge Network QoE Solution. In fact, we recommend that you use a traditional NMS for core functionality, such as monitoring network devices, systems, and distribution architecture. Preseem is best used for monitoring the radio frequency access layer with much higher resolution than an NMS provides and at a lower cost.

We hope you’ll agree that adding a system like Preseem to your tech stack can help improve QoE, increase efficiency, and get you out of the stare-and-compare abyss.

Book a demo to chat with our QoE experts and learn more about how Preseem can help reduce support calls and improve the subscriber experience. Let’s travel the last mile together!

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