There are only so many times you can ask your manager to repeat instructions before she’ll think you’re a flake, but who hasn’t been on a conference or video call where some crucial information or tasks are being shared, but the line or picture are too garbled for you to understand?
As we increasingly rely on video or voice conferencing apps this is unfortunately a frequent scenario – and our high expectations for using these productivity apps on the go is part of the problem.
The greatest issues are usually encountered when transitioning between networks – right where the signal for one network is getting weak. You might know the exact point on the way to the parking lot where you lose the office Wi-Fi but inside the office, the wireless signals are more transient and frustratingly patchy. Many different factors are at play, including walls or furniture that deflect the signal so it can be surprisingly challenging to predict where the dead zones or congestion exist. But there’s one thing you know for sure - that you are bound to encounter them when engaged in an important video conference while walking between meeting rooms, or to another part of the company campus.
Some of this is due to what’s known as “sticky client syndrome” - where a device will try to hang on too long to the Wi-Fi network, even when the network conditions have become unfavorable. This causes users to experience dropped calls or frozen video while the device struggles to find a new network to switch to.
Different applications take different approaches to managing this handover. Some have built in a fast reconnect which causes a short pause when the devices switches networks. If this gap is a few seconds, it won’t have a dramatic effect on the user experience (unless of course it happens exactly when you were getting briefed by your manager). However, with some apps that pause can be 30 seconds or more – leaving users hanging for far too long and missing out on critical information.
There’s a solution that allows enterprises and app developers to eliminate the issues experienced at the edge of networks. The Carnegie Mobility Gapless Handover solution is designed to solve the issue of poor audio or video quality at the edge of a network by making the transition between networks seamless. It intelligently leverages both cellular and Wi-Fi bandwidth to maintain an uninterrupted connection, even for VoIP calls or other low latency, real-time applications such as WhatsApp. The feature is easily embedded within any existing app via an SDK.
We deliver gapless handover by allowing the application to measure real-time latency, packet loss and jitter for available networks. The app’s socket calls are replaced by socket calls from the SDK, which encapsulates the traffic and sends the data through our proprietary tunnel to a proxy server located in the same data center as the apps SIP/video server. The SDK and proxy server combination draws on patented Carnegie Mobility Solution’s technology to make intelligent decisions.
When the SDK detects network degradation or dropped packets, for example as a Wi-Fi network grows patchy, the SDK will automatically start to replicate the incoming voice/ video traffic over both Wi-Fi and cellular networks to maintain the necessary consistent throughput that real-time apps require. When the device has established a link to a new Wi-Fi network with sufficient bandwidth, it switches back to sending all traffic over Wi-Fi. The traffic replication over both networks is only required for those few seconds to fill the gaps between networks, so the effect on the device, both in terms of battery and data use, is nominal.
The effect on the user experience, on the other hand, is huge as it ensures improved productivity and a frustration-free experience. What is more, satisfied end users have a direct link to an app developer’s bottom line. We’ve found that customers who have installed our SDK have been able to significantly reduce the complaints their customer service team receives – and also report that seamless experiences increase customer retention and brand loyalty.