Advanced Monitoring Of Switched Broadcast Systems (2007)

By Ludovic Milin and Ran Oz, BigBand Networks

Switched broadcast has become a viable technology for reclaiming bandwidth and optimizing spectrum, allowing richer program lineups and increasing personalization of content. By leveraging switched broadcast cable operators are able to offer subscribers hundreds of high definition programs and long tail content, such as coverage of local sporting events, without requiring plant upgrades to expand capacity. This paper presents data gathered from multiple switched broadcast deployments to illustrate the imperative of monitoring system performance and the resulting benefits to operators. The authors assert that performance monitoring should be applied at three key stages of deployment of a switched broadcast system: 1) Prior to Deployment – during this stage an operator must assess which programs in its broadcast lineup are viable candidates for putting on a switched tier. A non-intrusive analytical tool is, arguably, the best way to collect viewership statistics for all available programming, allowing identification of “long tail” content. 2) During Deployment – while a switched broadcast system is being implemented an operator will benefit from leveraging the same monitoring platform used in the prior characterization effort, potentially still gathering viewership data on broadcast programming. 3) After Deployment – once the installation has been completed the monitoring focus can be broadened to allow identification of trends, such as an unanticipated growth, that may lead to insufficient bandwidth being available to support all channel requests. Early identification of such trends can allow proactive remedies, minimizing negative subscriber impact. The authors also highlight the imperative of protecting consumers’ privacy and describe how the techniques used to collect viewership data can be made to comply with the 1984 US Cable Privacy Act.

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