Rick Bernheim, general manager for JDSU’s Cable Networks business unit, has more than 30 years’ experience leading high-tech communications organizations. He joined JDSU from SmartSynch, where he served as chief operating officer. His previous experience includes leadership roles at Harris Communications, Wavtrace, ComStream and France Telecom.

What brought you from a wireless company to JDSU’s cable networks division?

JDSU covers a number of markets, supporting cable operators and a strong wireless test portfolio among them. As cable operators have already begun using wireless technologies to distribute services, I see an overlapping of assurance strategies, giving me a unique perspective on the future state of our industry. JDSU has already made great strides in the wireless direction with the recent acquisition of Casabyte, the developer of a formidable wireless testing platform. JDSU’s combination of people, products, market position and technology made the decision easy.

Are operators getting more aggressive about preventive maintenance?

Yes, and it’s important to add that the emergence of real-time VoIP services and intense competition from the telecommunications and satellite providers are accelerating the trend of providers implementing solid preventive maintenance and monitoring programs. This is encouraging and requires a firm commitment from operators, but well worth it as network performance and service quality improve.

What is JDSU doing to make preventive maintenance a more actionable item?

We are helping directors and technicians streamline their test reporting processes by offering the ability to manage important tests like node certification and home certification reports consistently across the entire network. By establishing comprehensive certification and commissioning standards across all nodes, JDSU’s hardware and software solutions are specifically designed to enable cable operators to benchmark and continuously monitor and document network performance. By thoroughly sweeping the plant, suppressing ingress, certifying the return paths and having each technician perform an easy home certification process, operators can reduce repeat truck rolls by as much as 30 percent.

How has cable’s layering of voice services impacted test and measurement tools?

The cable industry’s move to bundle voice with video and high-speed data has made operators more conscious of how critical it is to maintain the quality of their networks. This has meant becoming more proactive in monitoring network health by using monitoring equipment such as JDSU’s PathTrak forward and reverse monitoring systems for the HFC, as well as JDSU NetComplete QT-600 to monitor quality for voice and video traffic.

Providing voice services has also demanded that the operator be quick to isolate and troubleshoot impairments in the field and in the home, using devices like JDSU’s SDA and DSAM-6000. Utilizing test and measurement equipment effectively has greatly improved the ability for operators to maximize the customer’s experience and helps them avoid negative impact on quality or interruptions of service.

As the industry accelerates the delivery of multiple services, the challenges of monitoring increase exponentially, don’t they?

Signal level meters, spectrum analyzers, and vector scopes once were all that were needed to perform the requisite testing of analog services. Digital video, however, is subject to impairments such as blocking, tiling, freezing and picture loss stemming from a number of causes that don’t exist in the analog domain. Moreover, the visual nature of video makes it less resilient to error–therefore, special consideration has to be provided to ensure error-free services.

While monitoring these services is an important part of proactive maintenance, knowing how to handle the issue once identified is also key. It is important to have digital video test systems available to perform the investigations required to pinpoint the exact location of the fault once the monitoring system has isolated that a fault has occurred.

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