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PNM – Proactive Network Maintenance – SCTE EXPO 2013 – Fresh Tech

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PNM - Proactive Network Maintenance

CableLabs Booth - SCTE EXPO 2013 - Fresh Tech

The PNM demonstration in the CableLabs booth was very popular at this years SCTE EXPO as was Armstrong and Comcast.  Both very impressive.  Comcast's demonstration of their PNM Scout Flux solution by the SCTE Pavilion was most impressive.  It won the BTR 4.5 diamond award in 2012, but it is not for sale.  Now Comcast has been working on their solution for over five (5) years with a team of smart people working on and have seen a great return and continue to see one today.  Comcast is the largest MSO's in the US with almost 22 million subscribers.

Nimble This is the PNM solution I demonstrated and the only one commercially available.  So if you don't have 5 years and a team of highly skilled people this solution might be good for you.  Cable operators are excited about this solution for many reasons.

PNM Quick Highlights20131022_153402

The big differentiator between the PNM solution and traditional SNMP monitoring systems are that the PNM solution analyzes pre-equalization data in each DOCSIS cable modem.  The equalization data indicates how hard a cable modem is working to pre-distort signals before they are transmitted to the CMTS.  This is quite valuable information for determining what type of upstream impairments exists and if they are in the outside or in-home plant.

How is this done?  With a lot of math.  But the data shown on the dashboard below shows that we can see the frequency response in the upstream (almost like an upstream sweep under the cable modem).  After further analysis we are able to determine if upstream impairments are due to frequency response, micro-reflections or group delay.  Finally we can estimate the distance of impairments based upon standing waves and if the impairment is located inside or close to the house by analyzing the pre-equalizer taps.  Awesome stuff.

Nimble This PNM Application

One more thing.  We recently added a new feature for those with Cisco CMTSs.  Its an upstream spectrum analyzer that takes advantage of a spare FFT in the CMTS.  This thing is really neat and I've had a difficult time not playing with it.  Since the CMTS gives you the ability to capture data when the modems are not transmitting you can be sure to always see the ingress under DOCSIS carriers.  That makes this a very powerful spectrum analyzer.  And no extra cables or test points in the headend to connect it up.  You just select the CMTS port you want to monitor.  See the image below or the video demo on the website.

Upstream CMTS Spectrum Analyzer
In addition, I presented at this years SCTE EXPO on PNM.  If you were unable to attend you can catch my presentation with voice narration here: Videos


Mr. Volpe has over 25 years of communications industry experience. He is focused on the cable and telecom industry with deep technical and business skills. Mr. Volpe is currently the president and chief technologist of the Volpe Firm and holds an MSEE with honors.

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