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Mixed Signals offers a watcher for the watchers

Wed, 08/09/2006 - 7:40am
Jeff Baumgartner, CED

Mixed Signals Inc. has launched a platform that will keep a close eye on and aggregate data from its flagship "Sentry" network management system.

The new entry, dubbed "Medius," can remotely administer and consolidate information for up to 15 Sentrys -- enough to serve a "large" headend. Each Sentry is outfitted to monitor digital content down to the PID and MPEG table level.

Prior to Medius, each Sentry was essentially an island of its own, unable to automatically aggregate and correlate data with other Sentrys on a given system.

One key benefit of Medius is its ability to produce customized reports. The other, according to company CEO Eric Conley, is its ability to distribute bandwidth more efficiently.

On the latter, the system can track bandwidth at the QAM level, and essentially balance the load. For example, if one QAM on the system is close to maxing out its 38.8 Mbps capacity, while another QAM is using only 31 Mbps to 35 Mbps, the operator will have the historical data needed to rebuild transport streams or to add channels based on the available bandwidth.

With that ability, an operator, in theory, can "oversubscribe" a QAM, Conley noted.

Looking ahead, Mixed Signals plans to extend its monitoring capabilities to switched digital broadcast (SDB) systems. With a "software upgrade," existing Sentrys can monitor SDB video before and after it is switched, Conley explained.

Mixed Signals, which competes with the likes of JDSU and Tektronix, has yet to announce any deployments for Medius, though several are in the pipeline, Conley said.

The company, however, has deployments or approvals for deployment with companies such as Cablevision Systems Corp., Time Warner Cable's Advanced Technology Group West, Time Warner Cable in Los Angeles (via its acquisition of the Adelphia system there) and Hawaii, and Canada-based Bell ExpressVu. The Comcast Media Center (CMC) has also stamped approval for Sentry.

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