By: David Stevenson>>
Video continues to grow as a proportion of network traffic and SOPRIS Technologies has been working with Carrier Service Providers (cable, DSL, satellite and wireless) to build solutions for monitoring the end to end user Quality of Experience linked to actionable insights on network performance.
The convergence of IPTV and OTT is evident with Apple now the number 3 Set Top Box (STB) vendor after consolidation of STB manufacturers and rise in the use of other devices. The distinction between the satellite/cable/broadband and OTT markets is disappearing as Pay TV services are offered using a combination of downstream delivery technologies and IP upstream into hybrid STB, digital TV, iOS/Android devices and web clients.
End users expect an excellent quality of experience no matter which device they use to watch paid content. Field data validates the importance of ensuring a good user experience - session abandonment closely aligns with service degradations - customers will churn if they have a consistently bad experience.
The end to end video chain has many places to monitor service quality:
- Content Quality tools look for encoding problems at ingest of linear and file based content into the distribution network. An example of such a tool is Interra Systems.
- Application Monitoring tools can be embedded in the origin server and are particularly helpful when diagnosing issues impacting the user web navigation experience – Dynatrace provides such systems.
- Infrastructure Monitoring gathers alerts and performance measurements from the servers in the data center, the Content Distribution Network(s), and ISP delivery network(s). A modern scalable open source tool for monitoring which also provides Dynamic service modeling is Zenoss which has connectors to the CDN, the network, and ability to integrate across the tool chain as the core system for operations.
- Streaming Analysis uses Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) placed at strategic locations in the chain to tap content streams and recognize what is being transmitted based on a library of signatures – though this is more challenging for encrypted and OTT content. Several companies have developed expertise on video monitoring and the availability of virtualized probes should help reduce implementation costs.
- Synthetic Agents can be strategically placed in the network to emulate user actions providing a continuous test of the applications with a controlled sample of locations to gain geographic/network coverage. Dynatrace has such robots deployed across many networks available to execute test scripts.
- Player Monitoring embeds an agent in the end user device to report back on the actual experience for every user session analyzed across content/network/ device/player. Conviva is the market leader in this segment with sophisticated analytics capabilities and an extensive library of player plug-ins.
Player Monitoring can be an especially powerful tool when enriched with network topology, content and user demographic data to provide insights not just on the real time Quality of Experience of EVERY user, but also provide insights:
on how the network is performing (all the way into the home);
to compare CDN’s;
to see what content is being viewed (and by which groups of users);
to see how different devices perform;
to benchmark against the competition.
Video traffic is continuing to grow and providing an excellent customer experience becomes a key differentiator not just for OTT and content providers, but also network operators.
SOPRIS Technologies has built a Solution Integration practice around video monitoring, which complements other activities for data center and network service assurance. We invite you to start a dialogue with us how our Solution Integration practice can help you and your team. Contact us here: http://www.sopristec.com/contact.html