By: Phil Fine, Product Line Manager, National Information Solutions Cooperative

For many fixed wireless broadband service providers, each day can be a challenge to provide the most reliable and efficient service while balancing the expectations of the customer. While wireless carriers focus largely on delivering the broadband services to the home across their wireless access network, they often overlook the equally challenging and oftentimes more complex delivery of those services inside the home wireless network, which can be detrimental to the customer experience. Deploying a solution that supports remote home network management has become critical with the explosion of Wi-Fi connected devices.

The most successful service providers will deliver unmatched customer service enabled by a robust remote customer care solution. The best solution gives providers visibility into the customer home network, allowing a review of the state and performance of devices connected via Wi-Fi to the carrier’s broadband network. Ideally, service providers will have the ability to monitor networks and proactively address issues before the customer even realizes there is one.

While there are a number of solutions for managing the home networks, many are not designed to be open to manage standards-based equipment nor integrated to the carrier back office for maximum operational efficiency. Ideally, providers not only should have the ability to select equipment that meets the needs of their customer base, but also acquire that equipment in a cost-effective manner. By deploying a standards-based solution, carriers have the power to use the most cost-effective equipment in their customers’ homes.

But that is only one side of the balancing act. Customers have expectations of their own: 100% reliability with all of their devices connecting seamlessly 24/7, regardless of quantity or location. And when those services are not running perfectly, the customer expects immediate provider assistance to quickly resolve the problems. More importantly, customers prefer the ability to resolve the most common issues efficiently — without calling the provider. Having a solution proactively identifying and correcting customer issues or placing intuitive tools in the hands of the customer to address those issues is key to meeting customers’ exacting demands.

While assessing remote management solutions, the carrier’s focus is to find one solution that features support for standards management and control, while implementing an Open API to enable deep integration with their operations and business support systems. Only a standards-based open platform can enable end-to-end service automation while enabling management of CPE devices from a broad range of vendors.

As providers research solutions and search for the ideal technology partner, ensuring the system selected allows the ability to work with a variety of vendors and equipment using Broadband Forum TR-069 standards is critical. This standard allows for broadband service providers to manage devices remotely, perform firmware upgrades, administer network changes, and run diagnostic tests such as Wi-Fi interference. To meet and exceed the expectations of the customer, it is imperative the solution offers customer self-care functions via a web portal and mobile app. In addition, providers should consider a solution that supports advanced management capabilities such as speed and latency reporting tools, not only for assuring the service delivery network is working at peak performance, but also to support FCC required testing.

Finding the perfect partner and solution is key to carrier success, but what impact does it have on a service provider? Increased revenue and customer satisfaction, and decreased call center volume and truck rolls. By empowering customers to manage their own devices, resolve performance issues, set parental controls, and administer changes to their home network all from a convenient app, the carrier can deliver a truly excellent customer experience.