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Organizations need QoE and QoS to improve end users’ experience with applications

Mauricio Steffen

Introducing Cradlepoint NetCloud Quality of Experience insights 

More than ever, organizations need to ensure an excellent end user experience for the applications that drive business — applications like video teleconferencing, customer relationship management systems, and much more. The right tools and metrics to gain insights and fine-tune network policies are essential, and two of the most heavily relied upon metrics are download speed and quality of service (QoS)However, there’s more to a high-quality user experience on a WAN link than just speed. Quality of experience (QoE) insights is the best litmus test for an application’s network performance as well as the end user’s overall happiness or frustration with the network service experience. 

Why QoE? 

Application performance and end user quality of experience (QoE) are critical metrics for IT success. The primary goal of IT is to make users and, by extension, the entire enterprise more productive. This fact illustrates why it’s important to focus on the end user’s experience. If an application or service doesn’t add value, users won’t embrace it. Similarly, users will let it be known if an application is not easy to use. 

Most organizations don’t have end user experience monitoring tools deployed across their network; often they only have access to bandwidth utilization statistics on their WAN links. So, how can you understand what is really going on with your network to be sure you are getting the best bang for your buck in business performance? 

Your subscription to Cradlepoint NetCloud includes the ability continue to show customer performance insights into their network and how applications perform across the WANTypically, download speed is the metric end users lean on to determine the quality of a network.  However, network administrators know that speed is not the sole metric that determines the quality of the user experience on a WAN source. With QoE, the end user’s overall happiness or frustration with the network service experience is the litmus test for successful network performance. WAN QoE evaluates the perceived quality of an application by collecting a series of metrics on the WAN that could impact an application. For example, video conferencing applications are quite sensitive to high latency, which would result in a poor user experience. 

What is the difference between QoE and QoS? 

The difference between QoS and QoE is immediately clear during a video call that garbles audio, freezes the video, or pixelates the screen sharing beyond legibility. The call might technically hit QoS-level agreement minimums; however, the overall experience still fails because it lacks other characteristics, such as latency, that shape a quality call. 

While QoS measures key network performance metrics, QoE focuses on the actual individual’s user experience. Did the network deliver a sufficient end user experience? During a video conference, if communication is impeded or a streaming video starts and stops, clearly the network failed.  

Why do you need both QoE and QoS? 

The standard for measuring network performance is with QoS . This is largely a holdover from the days when network management leaned on distributed, probe-centered architectures that used the CLI and SNMP protocols for monitoring the performance of individual networking components such as routers, switches, and load balancers. The introduction of video and real-time bi-directional communications on the network requires that QoS measurement techniques evolve. The limitation of QoS is that it doesn’t account for the relationship between the end user and the technology. QoS alone simply cannot factor for end user satisfaction, including the effect of large audio- or video-level variations. 

QoS is useful for measuring technical performance, but it only tells part of the network performance story.  So, while QoS is the gold standard for network performance management, it must be combined with QoE. The combination of QoS and QoE takes a much more holistic look at network performance and the end user, focusing on real-world network outcomes. Bringing QoS and QoE together truly is the best of both worlds. 

On Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Service webpage, learn more about how to ensure reliable and high-quality application performance at the network’s edge. 

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