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DOCSIS Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM)

What is the proactive network maintenance (PNM) Concept?  In a nutshell we change DOCSIS network maintenance from reactive to proactive.  Sure, these are buzz words, but everyone wants to be proactive.  The PNM concept and the products developed around this will build proactivity into the applications.  It makes proactivity part of DOCSIS plant analysis with products you already have.  Here’s how.

Every DOCSIS Cable Modem is a Test Probe with Proactive Network Maintenance

Through working with groups at CableLabs we have learned that analyzing the pre-equalization data in cable modems we can locate outside plant impairments to within 50 feet or less. This means time saved, customer satisfaction improvements, and increased quality for both the subscriber and the technician.

What does this mean? It means that every cable modem now becomes a troubleshooting device. Let’s take a hypothetical example. A cable modem’s pre-equalization data indicates that there is an impairment on the cable network. In addition you can determine the impairment location is in a span of coax roughly 550 feet in length (this is an echo cavity).  Further, multiple cable modems common to this span of cable are showing the same 550 foot impairment, which cause subscriber's to call into the customer service representatives (CSRs) and complaining about numerous issues ranging from poor voice service to slow data speeds.

However, you have the solution to remedy the situation and get all your subscriber quality issues resolved online FAST. Your network maps and PNM application pinpoint the location of the impairment, enabling you to send a truck directly to an amplifier and find out that there is a corroded center seizure screw causing micro-reflections. You repair the amplifier and see that the cable modem’s pre-equalizer data no longer shows the impairment and the uncorrectable codeword errors are no longer present. Thus we have dramatically reduced the typical troubleshooting repair time and most importantly customers are not threatening to leave your service behind.

How Do We Do It?

Our PNM application analyzes data in your cable modems using simple network management protocol (SNMP).  Using a number of complex algorithms we are able to deduce the tap values from cable modems upstream frequency response, such as group delay and micro-reflections.  Then we estimate the distance to the impairment, which  on the cable modem pre-equalizer digital taps.  Our accuracy to the distance continues to get better with each iteration of our algorithms.

Next we plot the cable modems on a map using the subscriber database address information and our geo-location services.  Cable modems are analyzed and marked as red, yellow and green depending upon the severity of the impairment.  When you look on our dashboard or on the map you know where the trouble locations exist.  Further, you know the location of the impairment, be it an in-home or outside plant impairment.  Using PNM is a game changer in the cable industry because it can give you back your weekends enabling you to resolve RF impairments on your time and not on the weekends when a preventable outage can occur.

Problems get identified and solved fast by knowing there is a problem and where the problems are.

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Proactive Network Maintenance

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