Service assurance

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Service assurance, in telecommunications, is the application of policies and processes by a Communications Service Provider (CSP) to ensure that services offered over networks meet a pre-defined service quality level for an optimal subscriber experience.

The practice of service assurance enables CSPs to identify faults in the network and resolve these issues in a timely manner so as to minimize service downtime. The practice also includes policies and processes to proactively pinpoint, diagnose and resolve service quality degradations or device malfunctions before subscribers are impacted.

Service assurance encompasses the following:

There are many drivers for service assurance adoption, with some considering the most important to be the ability to measure the performance of a service. A subscriber’s service experience quality can be directly linked to churn.[1] Therefore, maintaining satisfactory service quality levels is key to creating “customer stickiness.[2]

Other factors driving growing interest in service assurance include increasing competition, new challenges due to the convergence of networks, services, applications and devices, enabling services over IP and the merging of IT and telecommunications services.[3] But ultimately, it is the CSP’s ability to ensure a satisfactory level of QoS that will have the greatest impact on revenue.[4]

The importance of service performance is also reinforced by research stating that two thirds of subscribers will stop trying a new service after two failed attempts with that service.[5] Therefore, it is increasingly apparent that service assurance tools must be put in place prior to the introduction of a new service if it is to be successful in the market. This is particularly true of deployments of such services as VoIP, IPTV and mobile video.[6]

Service assurance spending by CSPs is forecast to grow to $USD 3.0 billion by 2011. Leading global service assurance providers include nsn, EXFO, Anritsu,Astellia, Epitiro, Spirent, JumpSoft, Computer Associates, EMC, Telcordia, Tektronix, Agilent, HP and IBM.[7]

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