Challenges to reducing mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) include a lack of continuous awareness, lack of data synchronicity, lack of network topology relationship and lack of automation, said Richard Berthold, CTO of Proxilliant Systems, on Thursday during the technical session “Maintaining the Health and Wellness of the Network.”

“The reality is there is no network connection between data and components of the plant,” Berthold said. “That is a big obstacle. (Operators) need to add automated compensation. Services are fragile …. The service can be restored until there is time to get dispatch out there.”

Ad hoc sampling can give a wrong conclusion of stability. “Continuity cannot be inferred,” he said. “You cannot assume 10 minutes from now the (component) is still good.”

For example, he suggested that a sampling of cable modems might show a 2 dB swing in dynamic range if monitored every four hours, which looks good. However, in between, there might be a 9 dB to 10 dB swing. “Independent CPE can give us misleading analysis in some cases.”

The key is to synchronize data, Berthold added. “Make sure testing or automated sensor is synched with other data …. A four-hour poll may say no noise, but in reality (in a) couple hours there is a severe service degradation due to ingress. You can’t assume a daily test or periodic maintenance is catching problems.”

There needs to be a topographical – not a geographical – connection between data and the physical plant because two houses back to back might not even be on the same node, Berthold added. “If you assume that because (houses) are near each other they have a common (problem, you will) be diluting the data.”

Co-author of the paper “Network Intelligence and Neighborhood Focused Service Assurance,” Keith Hayes, VP network operations and engineering services for Charter Communications, talked of placing a  health management detection device in the network. Using this type of mechanism, an operator can tell when the problems are occurring and minimize truck rolls.

“(You know) you need to send the technician at 8 in the morning and not 4 p.m. because the problems are not occurring then,” Hayes said. “You maximize technician efficiency and minimize truck rolls.”

“The beauty of the health management systems is that it marries the information from customer billing into the network topology, and you can (connect) that into a mapping engine so you know you’ve got a defined area of … cable modems offline,” Hayes added.

– Monta Monaco Hernon

The Daily

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