May 8, 2009

Workshop On Mobile BB QoSE, Questions and Answers

A number of key questions were asked to the participants in Workshop on Mobile Broadband Quality of Service Experience. My views regarding those questions are follows:

From a quality perspective, is Mobile BB different from Fixed BB? If so how?
Yes to a certain extent. Because it will be impossible to state minimum bandwidth in mobile broadband as throughput changes in different modulation which depends on signal strength. So in varying signal strength throughput may as minimum as close to zero.

Should we focus on the same quality parameters as in the case of Fixed BB (throughput, latency and packet loss) or should we use a different set? For example, should we test throughput on the move and/or changing from one cell to another? Should such parameters specifically defined with related to Mobile BB? (eg RTT vs. Mobile RTT)
For mobile broadband, testing on the move should be done to test the changes in throughput. Also testing tools must able to determine signal strength, Modulation and Signal to noise ratio.

Is Mobile BB quality technology‐dependent to the extent that testing cannot be technology neutral?
Mobile broadband quality is technology dependent as you never know what to expect from NLOS connection. Though with proper planning and deployment operator can ensure SLA.

Mobile BB, what should be tested – link from handset to operator or (as in case of Fixed BB) link to the cloud, or both?
Both, because pipe from user to operator may not congested and user may get higher throughput in local network but as internet price is higher, user may get lower throughput to cloud than operator level.

Should testing be done using a handset? Can PC simulation be used?
According to me both should be used. The main application of mobile broadband is whether we can use broadband on the move or not. It should not depend on how we could achieve that. A user can have a laptop attached to a modem traveling in a car. And the cost of the modem may less than a handset. And also if I can use broadband in a laptop I may not go for a handset with complex handling mechanism and relatively difficult to operate.

Does the type of handset significantly affect the quality? (In Fixed BB testing we treat PCs as equivalent) If, so how do we take this factor into account? (NB: This point is different from 3)
Yes, handsets may have different transmit power according to price and quality, so signal strength may differ in different handset.

Do we have any tools for Mobile BB testing? If yes, do they cover all aspects discussed above? If no, will it be feasible to develop a single universal tool?
Attester can be used. But still it needs to be equipped with wireless parameter.

How should the regulators ensure quality delivery? Should the process be different from that for Fixed BB?
As it is difficult to predict minimum bandwidth in Mobile BB, regulator must make sure that operator does not advertise more than they can deliver. In most cases operator advertises the capabilities of the technology (WiMAX or 3G) itself not their own strength. Regulators should force operators to ensure what they can deliver.

Will users play the same vital role in Mobile BB testing, as in Fixed BB?
Users will always play vital role in any kinds of testing. Type of user, difference in usage pattern will always effect the testing procedure even in Mobile BB.
Should the advertising standards in Mobile BB differ from those in Fixed BB?
No minimum should be defined also no impossible should be advertised.


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