Mixed Signals monitoring gets comprehensive

Tue, 11/04/2008 - 7:35am
Brian Santo

Mixed Signals has filled in its network monitoring solution with two new products that should help MSOs get more comprehensive information on their networks.

The company counts most of the largest U.S. MSOs among its customers. “All the major MSOs have told us that monitoring video is a key focus in 2009,” Mixed Signals CEO Eric Conley told CED. “They all want to get to five nines.”

The issue is that most service providers are all fairly quickly converging on the same set of services, and as that happens, the expectation is that service quality is going to become the key differentiator and competitive advantage. That makes monitoring extremely important.

The two new products that Mixed Signals are introducing to complete the Source-to-Edge (S2E) architecture are Sentry Verify, monitor units for encrypted or unencrypted video at remote locations, specifically for hubs; and Consul, a server application that organizes and displays aggregate service delivery and quality information from all of an MSO’s  markets, providing a unified view of network performance over time.

The two new products complement the Sentry content monitor, the Sentry Edge monitor for post-QAM RF monitoring, and the Medius application manager, by getting monitoring into places it hadn’t been before, and creating a means to aggregate and analyze information collected by Medius in various individual cable systems.

“Our new Source-to-Edge solution addresses our customers’ need to find the root cause of video delivery and quality issues and track their overall performance over time,” Conley said.

Conley explained that the Mixed Signals system performs far more checks – and more sophisticated checks – than most of its competitors. The result is less noise in the system, Conley said. The company advises a set of best practices, including settings for alarms, which lead to far fewer alarms, and a better correlation with actual causes and effects when an alarm does go off.

One fly in the ointment with the desire for five-nines (99.999 percent) quality in a cable video system, Conley allowed, is that there are meager definitions of what that means, and standards activity necessary to support the thrust is only at the beginning stages.

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