SCTE member since 2005 Title : Vice President, Cable Marketing & Sales, Tollgrade Communications Broadband Background: Van Peenen has experience on both the cable and telco side. For example, he served as a product manager in Acterna’s cable networks division and, later, as an independent consultant on a fiber-to-the-premises project for Verizon. In total, Van Peenen has almost two decades of experience in network management. Tollgrade operates in both the telco and cable arenas. What is your assessment of where cable stands in the battle vs. DSL? The battle with DSL for data services is now purely a packaging and pricing war – the technological pros and cons cancel each other out in the eyes of the consumer. However, when it comes to video, most of the Telco’s are dependent upon switched video services over VDSL or ADSL2+. This puts them in the position of implementing a new network protocol, deploying new video infrastructure and installing new CPE all at the same time in order to deliver a service they have no experience supporting. I think the real threat is going to be in FTTP. Before I made my homecoming back to cable I worked as a consultant in the program office for Verizon’s FTTP project. The low cost of maintenance and the massive amounts of bandwidth that can be instantly provisioned make them a formidable opponent. They will have challenges in delivering video, but they chose not to tie themselves to a switched video architecture. How about in cable’s efforts to compete for voice services? Consumers have clearly embraced voice services from cable companies. I think the big challenge for the MSOs will be sustaining an acceptable level of service as rollout reaches critical mass. The telcos have tremendous capability in automated test and proactive performance monitoring-and with the PON architecture they can quickly distinguish in-home wiring problems from infrastructure impairments. Cable companies need more effective ways to segment HFC plant trouble, and they clearly need increased automation. How can the Cheetah transponders assist in a VoIP deployment? Our DOCSIS-based transponders are built upon a platform we developed specifically to test and monitor the powering of the plant, the DOCSIS network, the data service and the voice service-all at the same time. For IP-based voice, our transponders verify service availability, determine on-and off-net reach-ability and measure service performance by operating as a specialized eMTA at a well controlled and established point in the network. We have several devices built on this same platform that reside in different locations in the plant; our power-supply transponders are generally located near nodes, and our CMD-E Outdoor-Hardened Test Point can be located at the end of line or any other strategic point where line powering is necessary. Related to VoIP, what characteristics are you testing for in the node? Our transponder, in addition to providing DOCSIS-specific data defined in standard MIBS, can complete a voice call, measure and analyze key performance indicators such as R- factor, jitter, latency and packet loss and then derive useful measures of voice quality like mean opinion score (MOS). Why is this important? It’s important because it’s the only way to proactively monitor the health of the voice service, in a predictable way, out in the plant without the customer being involved. What’s also important is that an operator can perform tests at various locations in order to segment the plant and dispatch to the right place. What is the significance of the transponders being DOCSIS compliant? DOCSIS transponders can be provisioned, from a network point of view, just like DOCSIS modems, and they can be managed using standards-based protocols and information models. While not all transponders are exactly alike, they leverage commodity components for DOCSIS communication, and the economy of scale translates into savings for the MSO. Is Tollgrade continuing to offer both proprietary and HMS transponder solutions, as well? Tollgrade was a pioneer in developing transponder technology for cable companies with the Cheetah product line, and we remain committed to supporting our customers that choose to maintain a proprietary based network for economic reasons. The DOCSIS shoe simply doesn’t fit all types of situations. Does Tollgrade’s new logo and Web site signify any changes for the cable market? The transformation of Tollgrade’s business in recent years is a result of new technologies being deployed by the company’s traditional MSO and RBOC customers as well as independent carriers. During the past four years, Tollgrade has successfully integrated acquisitions and new product lines to sustain and develop its presence as a leader in communications testing and monitoring. The company’s bold new logo recognizes its diversification and growth into new markets as a broadband network assurance supplier; it replaces a logo that identified Tollgrade since the company’s founding. Why was it important to update the company’s image? We’re different today. During the past two years, Tollgrade’s business portfolio has transitioned from being a supplier of narrowband test and measurement products and services to becoming a network solutions testability colleague for broadband providers. We provide high-quality solutions to even more customers today, including major cable and telecommunications companies, as well as independent carriers. In recognition of our progress, we updated our identity to reflect where we are today and, more importantly, where we will be tomorrow. Our new logo and a reaffirmed tagline— Network Assurance Simplified—are symbolic of Tollgrade’s commitment to pioneering new ways to protect and enhance our customers’ investments in new communications technology.

The Daily


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