Mixed Signals is attempting to increase the value of network monitoring by creating an additional use for the data its Sentry monitoring equipment is collecting anyway. The company has added an analysis function that renders information on specific channel bandwidth utilization that operators can use to manage their QAMs even more efficiently.  

At the same time, the company is adding the ability to record video and audio errors for more detailed analysis and repair.

Sentry’s new Program Group Bandwidth Analysis tool monitors service providers’ multiplex or QAM groups (in addition to analyzing virtual program groups). With information on bandwidth utilization of all of the video programs delivered, operators can then configure their networks to deliver the maximum number of programs while guaranteeing each program can receive the bandwidth required for pristine picture quality, the company explained.

Operators may also use Sentry to create a virtual grouping of programs to understand the bandwidth behavior over a 24-hour period. This allows them to “test” the bandwidth needs of a new multiplex or QAM group before putting it into production.

Beyond delivering more programming, achieving this level of bandwidth efficiency can help service providers maximize their investments in transport equipment. For instance, cable television operators could use their existing QAM modulators much more efficiently and avoid the need to purchase additional modulators, even as they add more HD channels and expand VOD services, Mixed Signals said.

In addition to its new bandwidth analysis tool, Sentry has added a Trigger Program Capture feature to record video and audio errors as they occur, which can speed their diagnosis and repair, the company said. The Trigger Program Capture is integrated with Sentry’s Audio and Video QoE Scoring System, which evaluates the severity of video and audio glitches as they occur and indicates how much these errors impact viewers’ QoE.

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