By Matt Mariani on 10/06/21 6:00 PM
Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) networks are a cost-effective way to deliver profitable broadband and connectivity services to subscribers. However, as your network rollout progresses from proof of concept (PoC) to deployment, provisioning, and ongoing management, streamlining operations will be essential to keep costs down and profits up. With so many CBRS devices to manage in addition to your other access network devices and technologies, every operational inefficiency will quickly eat into CBRS profit margins.
Here are four ways to help ensure your CBRS operations are as efficient and profitable as possible.
Give NOC Staff a Unified Device Management Dashboard
Your network operations center (NOC) staff are already very busy and rely on multiple systems to do their jobs. You can’t afford to introduce an additional system that makes their jobs more complicated or slows their efforts to detect and resolve network issues.
A ‘single pane of glass’ dashboard gives NOC staff a holistic view of all access network devices, no matter which vendor provided them or which technologies they use. The consolidated dashboard enables standards-based, carrier-grade management of every network element, whether it’s delivering services over 4G LTE, 5G, cable, fiber, or CBRS technologies.
With a single, unified view of all network elements, NOC staff can quickly and easily access all of the information required to pinpoint performance issues and resolve them before they affect service or lead to costly truck rolls. This also alleviates the time and cost burdens associated with maintaining and upgrading multiple disparate platforms.
Ideally, your device management platform is web-based so you can also integrate monitoring tools and applications from multiple vendors into that same user interface. This integration saves NOC staff from having to switch platforms and windowing systems as they work with different tools and applications.
Upgrade to Near Real-Time Network Monitoring and Analytics
The faster NOC staff detect issues in the CBRS access network, the sooner they can start troubleshooting and resolving those issues, and the more likely subscribers will never know the issue existed.
Collecting data about key performance indicators (KPIs), such as signal quality, once a day or even every few hours is not enough to adequately accelerate issue resolution. To proactively address CBRS network and device issues before customers start calling, the device management platform must deliver updated data for any number of devices every few minutes. What’s more, NOC staff must be able to manually collect data from devices immediately in cases where waiting for the next scheduled interval is too long.
To take advantage of these capabilities and access device data in near real-time, you’ll need a multi-vendor device management platform that supports the TR-069 specification.
Accelerate Customer Service
Giving customer service representatives (CSRs) more advanced and service-centric tools helps to improve first-time call resolution rates, decrease call-handling time, and reduce the number of issues that are escalated.
Guided workflow tools that automate troubleshooting tasks while CSRs are still connected with customers are a great way to expedite customer service calls. When CSRs initiate automated troubleshooting based on a reported issue, the tool automatically executes multiple tests, then either automatically resolves the issue or returns a recommendation to the CSR. With this insight and information, CSRs instantly know the right next steps to take and can either escalate the problem or close the ticket on the spot.
If the problem is escalated, you need the ability to run tests on categories of devices rather than on individual devices, which is very time-consuming. You should be able to categorize devices by their vendor, firmware version, or another common factor. This makes it easy to simultaneously run tests on specific groups of devices and eliminates the need for site visits.
In addition, the user interface (UI) CSRs use to serve customers should be tailored to help them work efficiently and focus on the highest priority issues. A task-oriented UI saves CSRs the time and effort of manually prioritizing tasks and mitigates the risk that a high-priority task will be missed or inadvertently deprioritized.
Choose a Highly Responsive, Respected, and Engaged Solution Partner
Selecting the right partner can deliver valuable time and cost savings that go a long way towards helping you streamline operations and cut costs. The savings potential spans every aspect of your CBRS deployment, from provisioning and onboarding to ongoing management and support.
Before you purchase a device management platform, ask for customer references so you can verify how quickly and easily the system was deployed and configured in other environments, and whether service level agreements (SLAs) were met. If the platform vendor has a strong track record of successful customer relationships, they won’t hesitate to share this information with you.
In addition, ask the platform vendor whether they:
- Offer support services 24/7
- Have local operations or a local support team
- Have a dedicated customer service team to support you from platform deployment through ongoing operations
- Offer SLAs for issue response and resolution times based on severity level
- Offer training or other guidance to help your teams optimize use of the platform
- Have a clearly defined roadmap for platform evolution
These questions will help you determine whether the platform vendor has the maturity level required to adequately support your deployment long-term. It will also help you avoid costly delays that could consume profits.
Streamlining operations to increase efficiency and reduce costs is just one aspect of the overall benefits the right CBRS device management platform provides. For additional insight, read our related blogs:
- Why You Can’t Afford to Take a Siloed Approach for CBRS Device Management
- What It Takes to Efficiently Manage the Millions of Devices in CBRS Networks