If you’re like most cable providers, it’s been a challenge to keep up with the increasing demand for bandwidth. As quickly as you add capacity, it seems you need more, and the cost of constantly bumping up your bandwidth probably isn’t being offset by an increase in revenue per subscriber.
Fast, affordable broadband is essential to the long-term success of communities and their citizens, giving them access to the global economy. Yet the United States continues to lag in establishing access to high-speed internet in all areas of the country.
The Internet’s increasing necessity in our daily lives has made Broadband Internet as vital as public water and electric power. As a municipal faced with the need to keep your citizens from being left behind, it’s important to understand the benefits of building a broadband network for your community.
Once your network is built, the work isn’t complete. Success is not just a matter of connecting subscribers, but following through on the everyday routine that is vital to your investment paying off. Your subscribers expect first-class broadband services and immediate attention.
We’re in a time of change and one of the main things we have learned is that it is no longer enough to just have internet; one must have quality, high-speed access. The future now seems to be dependent on access to gigabits of broadband capacity. That capacity will depend on fiber optics.
When IPv4 was first introduced in 1984 it probably seemed at the time that the 4.3 billion addresses that came with that version were plenty. After all, the Internet was just a network consisting of various connected servers at universities.
In June of 2012, IPv6 was launched as the official solution to the increasing scarcity of IPv4 addresses. The acceptance and deployment of IPv6, which will become the new standard as IPv4 is phased out, has progressed in the last six years, but still has a long way to go due to multiple factors. This eBook covers IPv6 and its history, its current status, and what obstacles there are related to continued adoption of the new standard.
On February 3, 2011, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) allocated the last five remaining “/8”s of IPv4 address space to the Regional Internet Registries (RIRs); the local registries are running low on IPv4 addresses, rapidly. The advent of new Internet-connected locations (from hotels to planes and more world-wide) and new Internet-connected devices (notable examples include smartphones, smart meters, gaming devices and other household appliances) has exacerbated the shortage. Each of these extra devices places greater pressure on the existing IPv4 infrastructure.
Denial of Service attacks are one of the darker outcomes of modern internet technology. The denial of service attack floods the targeted network with superfluous requests or data and overloads the system. The targeted network cannot respond or simply crashes, blocking access for legitimate users.
Due to the insatiable appetite of subscribers for bandwidth services such as 4k and IP video, coupled with the exploding increase in WiFi, it has become almost mandatory for providers to offer gigabit speeds to homes and businesses. Operators scrambling to meet the demands have typically relied more and more on node splits.
Like any business, service providers are vulnerable to crushing multi-vector distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks carried out for political, social, criminal or competitive reasons. However, service providers must also contend with the DDoS domino effect: the added challenge of protecting their infrastructure from targeted attacks against subscribers that cause collateral damage to infrastructure and other unsuspecting business customers.
DOCSIS codeword errors are the most effective metric to determine if a data issue like slow web pages, slow gaming, poor voice quality, etc., is an RF plant problem or if it is a data network problem. Understanding codeword errors and their effect on RF impairments will enable you to improve your subscriber’s experience, lower your costs and save your technicians time in the field.
DOCSIS Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM) is a relatively new tool for cable operators that allows them to find and resolve issues in the cable plant before they impact subscribers. For most of the history of cable plant maintenance the default methodology was a break-fix one, where most issues were addressed after reports were received from customers that their service was affected.
As cable networks transform, and services such as data, video, telephone, home monitoring and other services are going through them, the demand for exceptional reliability increases. To achieve such reliability the old break-fix routine also has to transform. Operators have to fix problems before they have an impact on service.
The cable modem of the 1980s wasn‘t even called a cable modem. It was designed and used primarily by engineers and was just called a modem, or sometimes, an RF modem. The information was digital—1s and 0s—and these early cable modems were less complex and served limited purposes.
As its name suggestion, proactive network maintenance (PNM) allows cable operators to get ahead of the curve in being able to diagnose issues in the cable plant. When network impairments are concentrated in an area, it’s easier to locate the problems if technicians can zero in on multiple cable modems that are having the same problem and group those modems together.
You probably already know that by adding a simple, one-line command in the CMTS you can see an immediate 5 to 10 dB improvement upstream MER (SNR). It’s like a magic pill that eliminates the pain that would normally be caused by impairments in your outside plan an the subscriber’s home.
Reliable broadband service is more important than ever to consumers, which means providing an exceptional broadband experience for your customers is also more important than ever. The level of technical support you offer is one key way to differentiate your service from your competitors.
A recent poll ranking the customer service of 235 companies across 19 industries found that cable and telco providers aren’t scoring so well with their customers. The bottom of the barrel in this survey is a who’s who of TV and Internet companies, with eleven of those companies landing between 222 to 235 in the rankings.
Driven by demand for more bandwidth and faster speed, fiber optics are replacing copper wire communications because of its many advantages over copper. Cable based methods for data transmission can’t provide the bandwidth of fiber, and is limited in the distance that signals can be sent due to power loss. Fiber optics offer greater bandwidth capacity, and the ability to transmit signals over longer distances with very little power loss. Fiber’s resistance to magnetic interference can make transmissions nearly noise free. Coupled with the low security risk of transmissions via light and the ease of installations with smaller size and lighter weight cables, fiber is bringing convenience and monetary advantages to the broadband operator.
Many broadband companies spend a good deal of time and money in an attempt to attract new subscribers. Of course, efforts focused on gaining new customers are an important tactic in growing your business. Just as important, however, is taking the steps necessary to reduce the loss of existing customers.
IPTV refers to Internet Protocol Television where the internet is used to transmit TV programming and video, either live or on demand, instead of over traditional cable or satellite. The television content is encrypted, compressed, put into IP packets, and delivered to the subscriber through a high-speed internet connection.
There is a vast and growing array of network monitoring tools and software out there. New software, tools, and utilities are launching almost every year to compete in an ever-changing marketplace of technology monitoring. These new tools reinforce some of the most needed features, such as more granular and in-depth traffic data and better views of bandwidth usage.
Real-time spectrum analysis (RTSA) allows technicians to quickly capture, identify, and analyze complex RF environments of rapidly changing and highly intermittent signals. Using real-time spectrum information from modems and set-top boxes, technicians can capture and isolate problems remotely before rolling a truck to the field.
Cable signal leakage, sometimes called egress, occurs when RF signals “leak out” from the cable plant and spread into the environment. Cable signal leaks can be caused by loose connectors, damaged plant cables or cracked or unterminated cables. And egress or leakage is an open invitation for ingress, when outside signals get into a coaxial cable causing a disruption in online and voice services, poor picture quality, tiling, and picture freezing. These lead to customer complaints and result in long hours of troubleshooting. But signal leakage also has other repercussions for the operator, the most serious being the increased liability due to “harmful” interference with aeronautical communication.
As operators we have many (sometimes too many) monitoring tools to gauge the health of our plant. This is especially true on upstream signals where we often find the most problems. The downstream, while typically a “cleaner” set of frequencies to transmit on, has challenges of its own and is much more difficult to monitor effectively because the signal is going to each customer location rather than straight to the head end.
The return path in any DOCSIS network is most frequently the weakest link of the DOCSIS network. It is the source of most RF impairments and also the location of RF ingress, which disrupts DOCSIS communication of any type. Why is this?
Delaying your Metaswitch to IP network transformation could be costing your business more than you know. For every type of communication service provider (CSP) — including fiber ISPs, WISPs, ILEC/CLECs, satellite, cable MSOs, municipalities, and electric co-ops — future-proofed voice communication is critical.
Service providers are looking to residential and business VoIP services to augment revenues, monetize broadband infrastructure and increase customer win and retention rates. To deliver phone, many service providers partner with VoIP solution providers to accelerate timeto-market, increase service agility and improve business results. By outsourcing VoIP infrastructure, ISPs, MSOs and telcos can significantly reduce the time, capital and human resources required to deploy and support next-generation voice services.
Voice communications remain essential to individuals and businesses. This presents a great opportunity for broadband service providers, who can offer an additional service over their broadband connection and gain some significant new revenue while they’re at it.