This week, the Wi-Fi Alliance® announced the release of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data Elements™, “bringing a standardized approach to Wi-Fi network diagnostic data collection that enables service providers better visibility into Wi-Fi® networks to enhance the quality of service delivered to customers.”
This innovation represents the culmination of more than two years of work by the team here at Calix, alongside peers from a variety of other telecommunications companies. The proposal to form a dedicated Task Group within the Wi-Fi Alliance, to allow a Certification program for Data Elements, was made in August 2017. Formal acceptance in December of 2017 led to the development of the Data Element Technical Specification and Certification Testing announcement that was made today.
I enjoyed being involved in this collaborative effort, which included:
- Working closely with representatives from both CableLabs and Nokia on the Task Group formation proposal and the original draft set of data elements that was presented to the Wi-Fi Alliance (This was the foundation of what eventually became the Data Elements Tech Spec.)
- Serving as co-chair of the Task Group, from inception of Data Elements into Release 2
You can read more about the technical elements of this new standard in a technical paper titled “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Data Elements Technology Overview”, which was also released this week.
In summary, the certification program captures and delivers key data on Wi-Fi network performance that assists service provider diagnostic capabilities, enabling better maintenance of home Wi-Fi networks. Wi-Fi Data Elements provides key data to assist in Wi-Fi troubleshooting, bringing faster resolution of network issues to improve customer satisfaction on Wi-Fi networks.
Wi-Fi Data Elements establishes a standardized model for delivering 130 Wi-Fi-specific key network performance indicators, including the speed at which data moves across a wireless network, air time necessary for devices to perform as expected, and retry rates between a Wi-Fi device and an access point. This consistent approach to data collection feeds directly into service providers’ diagnostic tools, helping them better understand Wi-Fi network conditions, more rapidly obtain and analyze data, and more efficiently respond to customer issues in dynamic Wi-Fi environments.
Wi-Fi Data Elements can be used for:
- Wi-Fi troubleshooting: Using insights into current and historical network performance, including interference from other sources, coverage and configuration challenges, and client device capabilities, enabling rapid identification of network issues and faster customer resolutions.
- Resolving Wi-Fi coverage issues: Determining whether a Wi-Fi network has sufficient signal strength for the given area, helping service providers offer recommendations for additional equipment to address coverage issues.
- Proactive problem solving: Establishing standards for access to network performance data captured from Wi-Fi devices, delivering it to Internet service provider (ISP) support systems, triggering alerts when Wi-Fi service is impacted, and proceeding with issue resolutions before customers notice an issue.
This new, standards-based approach to Wi-Fi data collection can help to reduce customer support calls related to Wi-Fi issues, decrease time spent on support calls, and enable service providers to elevate their service level – all while improving subscriber loyalty.