Enhanced Plant And System Monitoring Using Open-standard Data Channels And Tools (2004)

By Aran Sadja, Eric Holcomb & Lee Pedlow, Sony Electronics Inc.

The complexity and scope of present cable networks eclipse its analog predecessor. The demand for unimpaired service availability and network robustness has been elevated as customer acceptance and dependency has grown for new revenue opportunities such as telephony, broadband data services, video-on-demand and extensive channel offerings, all enabled by the digital revolution in cable television. These new services depend upon networks with high fidelity. The barrier separating error-free reception and complete loss of service is often less than a decibel. Operators faced with the requirement for improved service, reduced downtime and 24/7 network availability are also facing the need to reduce capital expenditure, truck rolls and personnel costs. Current solutions for extensive network monitoring are both cost prohibitive and have limited scope of information as well as limited observability, often only providing data for a node or trunk and not to each subscriber tap or CPE. Cable network infrastructures can vary from plant-to-plant, node-to-node and trunk-to-trunk. From mode hopping lasers and noisy amplifiers to ranging cable modems, operators are challenged by a diverse set of issues that may seem impossible to troubleshoot with any one existing technology. Using only open-standards, Sony was able to create a unique and encompassing system monitoring tool with unlimited expansion capabilities that can in real-time analyze plant data and automatically report any instances where the quality of service is below established thresholds or suspected failures were found.

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