Are QoS and QoE the same thing?

Sometimes, as a tester, you might feel like your users are experiencing a completely different system from the one that you’re testing and deploying. You might, for instance, devote countless person-hours and resources to finding areas in your network where improvements to the code could lead to better KPIs for Quality of Service (QoS), reducing jitter and packet loss substantially, only to find that your users haven’t noticed a difference. You might even find that your users experience decay in network quality, despite the objective metrics that say otherwise. What gives? Simply put, a given user’s experience on your network is never going to correlate 100% with objective quality metrics. This might be for any number of reasons—for new 5G services, differences in latency time might be too minute for most humans to notice. For the same reason, users will weight small issues with some services (e.g., streaming videos or video-conferencing) disproportionally to others. Whether their perceptions are rational or not, they’re still deciding whether to renew your services at the end of every month, so churn prevention depends on finding a way to keep them happy. How can network operators and testers pull off this feat? One option is to incorporate QoE (Quality of Experience) metrics into your standard suite of KPIs.

Quality of Service (QoS) vs. Quality of Experience (QoE)

How do QoS and QoE differ, and why does this difference matter? QoS tends to involve more traditional, objective metrics that testers can easily measure when extracting data from the System Under Test (SUT). This includes jitter, latency, packet loss, and other parameters, all of which are critical indicators of your service’s health.