The concept of a good service in telecommunications sometimes can get shortsighted if it only considers the way the end user perceives service, of course, if you cannot provide a service good enough so most of the users are satisfied, then is over. But in order to provide a service with the tag “good” in it, from my humble opinion, one cannot be one sighted, the concept should include, in a comprehensive way, several dimensions within the society, and so, the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) may come to the mind as the frame in which such a service should be bounded, I agree, CSR polices are enabling service providers to achieve the goal of long term sustainability with responsibility and social conscience inside a holistic approach, social challenges like bridging the digital divide, protection of the environment and enriching society are often included in these policies; but, is it enough? I’m a passionate person, and I consider that if you cannot find that thrust inside of you driving every effort you make to complete a task, then something is definitely missing, and I think industry lacks passion to deliver a good service.
Are We Missing Something Important?
I do not intend to disregard industry efforts in several aspects like adopting green policies and the like, but I cannot help thinking that business exploitation models predominates in the world, where focus on O&M, planning for growth, insipid customer service and huge commercial structures overlook aspects like, innovation, constant search for improvement, scout for talent, among others. I know it’s a business, that’s the reality, and to continue doing business industry is slowly driving its boat towards long term sustainability, the factor that can make that boat to navigate quickly is PASSION, whether for a career, for the country, or just for the people. As a member of the industry, I must start the change from the inside, why not remembering how I felt when I graduated as an engineer many years ago.
Ingredients of a Telecommunications Service of Excellence
Image courtesy of Paola Buelvas (email@example.com)
Wireless communications services extend to many aspects of our lives and promises of future developments only seems to enforce this opinion. So the challenge of a good service is always growing bigger but should always comprise the following five ingredients; Environmental conscience; the adoption of green policies is gaining importance worldwide, the next step in this direction is to measure the positive adoption impact and extend the influence of such policies. Reliability for social responsibility: Wireless technology has integrated so well into our lives that several mission critical and emergency systems depend on them, how to provide a service that even under catastrophic events still works is one key challenge. Dynamic Security; new trends and usage patterns as well as the need to integrate new services expose the network to both familiar and never seen before threats. Cross layer Quality; several catchy terms have been used to designate specifically aspects of the quality, its importance is undeniable and must be considered as a wholes as well. Willing to give back to the community; this last ingredient will allow the service provider to gain more than subscribers in its execution, since it will create that sense of loyalty and gratefulness in the community, the service provider has several dimensions to choose from in order to give back, ranging from generation of employment to involvement in country productivity growth, but in my opinion where the major positive impact can be exerted is promoting education, whether in poor communities or as means of future human talent investment. Every ingredient is composed of complicated and diverse technical challenges that should be addressed having in mind the long term existence of the service and its legacy, next I’ll briefly address the first four ingredients.
Several green initiatives are being put on place globally and recently more and more international groups, professional associations and standardization bodies are promoting and constructing polices related, and service providers are starting to adopt those initiatives, the problem is that active involvement is scarce. Action implementing organizational green models that allow them to assess the impact that every step of the service life cycle has on the environment is a display of real commitment; after which application of counter action measures against green house emissions must be taken. One important move SP should make is the request of green certifications issued by independent organizations on devices and telecom equipment. A clear statement in service provider objectives for environmental conservation must be made, and above all, efforts towards the fulfillment of those objectives must be put into action. Regulation and law making decisions in the matter must be a synergic effort of all the actors of the industry in a country. From the technical point of view one of the main trends in green polices is the minimization of power consumption, especially in the ratio access network where several studies have shown that most of the power is consumed, but it also has been demonstrated that resources also have long idle times and it can be proved that power network consumption is independent of traffic load. Several challenges must be addressed; like moving the investigation from spectrum efficiency towards energy efficiency or even better a conjunction of the two, other aspect is the design of energy efficient MIMO schemes and cross layer interference coordination in heterogeneous networks for power conservation.
Reliability for Social Responsibility
During catastrophic events, it is expected that mission critical services maintain an acceptable level of accessibility to assist victims and perform rescue tasks, but even in regular service operation the reliability is a key factor, so self configuration and healing technologies must be considered, traffic balancing techniques and user centric polices most be included in the check list of a resilient radio access network. In the core network an important concept has been developed where the core is considered as a massive pool of resources instead of a one to one association towards the access network, in such architecture radio network access functional entities do not depend on one core functional entity but the core dynamically responds to requirements in the event of failures or high traffic demand. Additionally the construction of a reliability plan must be an important step towards the delivery of “The good” service, such plan must specify the critical geographic areas that cannot be left without coverage in case of failure, the most evident obstacles or threats must be indentified and countermeasures must be considered ahead, even the personnel chosen to provide network management in such situations must be carefully chosen. The importance of agreements between incumbent actors of the industry in a country becomes evident and must be encouraged by governments in favor of the wellbeing of the community.
Most of the service providers approach the security matter with secrecy and often in a limited environment, but the applications running on top of the network and usage patterns demand for security policies that transcends to every layer of the network, when all the layers of the network are included in the policy, that makes it dynamic and alive. It’s clear that domain segmentation is necessary in order to implement security schemes but general rules must be global in the network, must not be tied to utilities or equipment brands and must reach the user. An informed user will make better decisions when using the network if he understands the threats he is exposed to; at the other side of the spectrum is the application, long ago the carrier was able to ignore what was running on top of the network but now it’s a totally different story. The security polices cannot be something that comes down onto the network, every area must actively participate in its development, since behavior of the security breaches can be different at different layers of the network. Planning a scheme that stands growth and technological evolution is ideal but challenging, so strategic alliances with manufacturers and key security players in the industry can make the difference. Finally, most of the time the wireless channel is considered more vulnerable to attacks, but recent research has proven that the fast decorrelation nature of the wireless channel can enrich security schemes with features like channel based authentication and secrecy.
Cross layer quality
Quality in wireless networks is being widely discussed, and its undeniable that represents a differentiating factor for the service provider, the real challenge is to consider a quality cross layer model that can be dynamically adaptable and aware of the context. In order for the model to be cross layer it should be considered from the radio access network to upper layers, access control algorithms working tightly with resource reservation schemes and both coordinated by an efficient bandwidth reservation algorithm that in time feeds the QoS provision at the packet level is an option. Also good quality models feed from several tools including business intelligence and monitoring, and the most important factor is, that these models consider the user expectations of the service along with the constant evolution of the same and its continuous improvement.
More wireless cellular topics in my twitter account @jomaguo.
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