How AT&T Turns Billions of Data Points into Great Service

October 08, 2014

Did you know that wireless networks change with the seasons? It can happen each spring, when leaves grow, and can affect wireless signals. We anticipate this ahead of time, using analytics tools and billions of data points that help us modify the network regularly.

On an average day, we measure 1.9 billion network-quality check points from where our wireless customers are actually using their service.

So how are we managing billions of data points to deliver the nation’s most reliable 4G LTE network*?

Scientists and researchers at AT&T Labs are working in tight collaboration with AT&T Technology and Operations to use network analytics to better understand our customers’ true network experience.

The program is called Service Quality Management, and through it, AT&T Labs has invented breakthrough technologies that use sophisticated analytics to make sense of this massive volume of network data and discern what customers are experiencing.

These technologies have transformed how we manage our network – driving smarter decisions and resolving issues quicker than ever before.

For instance, if two areas have disrupted cell towers – restoring service to all customers quickly is key – but which area do we respond to first? One primary technology we’ve developed helps us answer this question. It’s called TONA – the Tower Outage and Network Analyzer – and it uses real-time data and historical measurements to capture the ripple effect of a network disruption. It factors in current users, typical usage for various times of the day, population and nearby towers that can handle the problem.

TONA has created a 59 percent improvement in identifying customer impact, and it shortens the duration of network events for the greatest number of customers. 

Mercury is another technology. When we plan maintenance or routine upgrades to the network, Mercury helps us understand how well those upgrades actually improved our customers’ experience.

Here’s one example of how it’s used. Seasonal and weather-related conditions – like foliage in the spring or rain and snow – impact our network. When we upgrade the network in the midst of these conditions, it’s important that our team understand how foliage or precipitation impacts the network, so we can get a clear picture of how well an upgrade improved service. Mercury solves this problem, and has allowed our network teams to move forward with making improvements to the network at times when they may not normally have done so because of weather or seasonal conditions.

You can learn more about our SQM program and technologies in this video.

 

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