Water Can Run, But It Can’t Hide: PNM Finds Soaked Cables (2021)

By Kathy Fox, Nathan Zedan, James Kolcun & Larry Wolcott, Comcast; Jason Rupe, Tom Williams & Jay Zhu, CableLabs; Ron Hranac, SCTE Network Operations Subcommittee

The cable industry started taking advantage of proactive network maintenance (PNM) nearly a dozen years ago, and has shared results at many previous SCTE Cable-Tec Expos – so what’s new in PNM for2021? Water. Not the liquid itself, but what it can do to our subscriber drop plant and the services we provide over that plant. Operators have long been haunted by coaxial cable water ingress – since the very first days of the industry. Water ingress is nothing new, but it now has its own special tool in the PNM toolbox. In the grand scheme of things, that tool is a way to sharpen the focus on enhancing the customer experience and network performance, which is where PNM tends to take center stage. (Even, and perhaps especially, when it’s raining.) This paper reviews the progress of water detection, location, and severity assessment in the cable plant.

The authors explore the background, motivation, theory and provide an outline for operators to evaluate their networks. In addition, there are field and lab examples which clearly illustrate the importance to customer experience, using customer testimony and speed test results as points of validation. Lastly, the authors provide information to help operators determine the future impacts when considering DOCSIS4.0’s features, such as extended spectrum (ES) DOCSIS and full duplex (FDX) DOCSIS.

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