Troubleshooting in a Multi-Services World

By Huw Price-Stephens, Mariner

How can operators can best monitor and analyze the complex nature of today's evolving pay TV offerings, reduce OPEX, and boost QoE? Let's examine some of the common questions.

From a monitoring and analytics perspective, what are the key challenges facing operators in the telco, cable, satellite, cellular, and ISP environments?

The pay TV market is changing, both on the content and service levels. Content is increasingly being viewed by consumers on multiple platforms, and for more hours. As a direct result, operators are looking to capture economies for expanded service bundles that include a mix of pay TV, OTT, and high-speed Internet. In this increasingly complex and chaotic service domain, an inability to see and react to individual and systemic issues and degradations can undermine service integrity, customer satisfaction, and commercial success. If pay TV operators want to survive and thrive, they need a software-based monitoring and analytics platform that meets the flexibility, scalability, and speed-to-market demands of the multiscreen service environment.

Given the fragmentation of wireless devices and streaming, how can operators deliver more successful services, on time and affordably?

It's important that operators deploy a service assurance platform capable of monitoring and analyzing an expanded and interrelated set of services, content, service-delivery environments, and devices. Moreover, the platform must address the economies of scale needed for innovative service bundles, supporting IP-based consumer devices across all networks, including telco, satellite, cable, and in-home WiFi, to drive new revenue. The in-home environment is a particular focal point, given the complexity associated with device diversity and the proliferation of services. Enhanced monitoring and troubleshooting of the in-home environment is a must.

To support widely varying KPIs for different operator stakeholders, the platform should be flexible enough to allow definition and measurement of all possible correlation relationships among the available data. The correlation dimensions can be based on common attributes and trends, geographic location, network or other topological proximity, service delivery chains, or any combination of original or derived metrics determined to have value. Finding a service assurance platform with a simplified way of defining multiple "connectivity" types within each correlation domain is also critical. End-point devices can belong to multiple domains, further maximizing operators' flexibility in the multiservice realm.

Finally, quick data ingestion capabilities allow rapid and easier integration of the variety of QoE data sources needed to monitor today's multiservice ecosystems.

How can operators address the monitoring and analytics issues that exist with bundled service offerings?

As the service domain becomes more complex, the likelihood increases that the quality and integrity of an individual service will be adversely affected by those around it. Operators can take the complexity out of troubleshooting multiservice offerings by choosing a holistic monitoring and analytics platform that supports a coherent view across a wide range of services and service types. Cross-fertilizing available metrics helps expose issues or degradations resulting from the combination of factors, rather than being intrinsic to a specific service.

When it comes to service assurance, flexible troubleshooting and root cause analysis are very important. After evaluating data correlation and grouping relationships, operators can define auto-detected patterns or signatures.

Since a scalable monitoring architecture can make or break an operator's plans for growth, scalability is also essential. Operators will need a platform that can ingest and filter through hundreds of millions of devices in a single deployment.

Is there a correlation between analytics and providing a superior QoE to viewers?

Absolutely. Without a rich wealth of data, operators would be left in the dark about subscriber QoE. By turning big data into smart data advanced service assurance platforms allow operators to quickly identify the root cause of service issues and degradations, to provide a better quality of experience to customers. By automating remedial action, or by provision of self-help capabilities, or by integrating the analytics results into existing operational workflow processes, the improved QoE is achieved without increasing the training budget.

We're starting to see platforms incorporate advanced multidimensional data correlation, complex signatures, and the ability to manage QoE across the breadth of the operator's IP services portfolio. These tools bring substantial OPEX savings to operators by enabling them to spot challenging problems before they're noticed by subscribers. What's more, they equip operations, care and field teams with fast, accurate automatic triangulation of customer QoE problems.

When it comes to launching new service offerings, operators must be quick to stay ahead of the competition. What's the best strategy for integrating a new service from the perspective of the service assurance platform and existing workflows?

Software-based monitoring platforms are the ideal choice for integration flexibility and cost savings. One of the beauties of software-based solutions is that upgrades are quick and easy. Any time there is a new feature or technology available, operators can perform an instant upgrade that is largely invisible to customers, future-proofing their investment in the platform.

Integration of a new service may involve new data sources and monitoring metrics being ingested into the service assurance platform, with new corresponding KPIs being calculated. These may be transmitted as alarms or alerts, or passed through APIs to extend and enhance existing dashboards and workflow processes.

Huw Price-Stephens is a senior xVu product strategist at Mariner.

Get the Broadband Technology Report Newsletters Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to email newsletters today at no cost and receive the latest information on:

  • Video Technology
  • Network Technology
  • Technology Alerts
  • BTR LATAM (Latin America)

SCTE-Cable Tec Expo 2016 Video Show Dailies

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 3

In our Video Show Daily for Day 3 of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy covers trends in distrib...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 2

In our Video Show Daily for the second day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia, BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy highlights furt...

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR's SCTE-Cable Tec Expo Video Show Daily, Day 1

BTR Editorial Director Stephen Hardy reviews the hot technologies and announcements from the first day of exhibits at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016 in P...

Diamond Technology Reviews - 2016 High Scores

2016 Diamond Technology Reviews Slideshow

2016 Diamond Technology Reviews Slideshow

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

Diamond Technology Reviews 2016

BTR's Diamond Technology Reviews, now in its twelfth year, is a technology recognition program wherein vendors serving the broadband cable ...

Related Articles

Digital Nirvana

Digital Nirvana Upgrades Monitoring Platform

October 20, 2016

At the NAB Show New York in November, Digital Nirvana will highlight the...

Status Report: Full Duplex DOCSIS

Status Report: Full Duplex DOCSIS

October 19, 2016

By Monta Monaco Hernon - Specification development for Full Duplex DOCSI...

Triveni Digital

Triveni to Highlight ATSC 3.0

October 18, 2016

At the 2016 NAB Show New York, Triveni Digital will demonstrate its meta...


2016 SCTE Cable-Tec Expo Wrap Up

Whether you couldn't make it to Cable-Tec this year or want to see if you missed anything while you were there, you'll want to join BTR editors Stephen Hardy and Ron Hendrickson as they reveal their picks for the...

October 12, 2016
Sponsored by

Counting the cost: Efficiently transitioning from HFC to FTTH

HFC networks are uniquely positioned to provide compelling and competitive services, and are also uniquely positioned to transition to symmetrical FTTH as commercial requirements demand.  This webinar will d...

Date:September 22, 2016
Sponsored by

Maintaining High Quality of Experience in an Adaptive Bitrate System

This webinar will look at the many points in an ABR system where the video is touched.  From ingest (satellite, file, and IP), to egress, each point should be qualified for compliance to help maintain a high...

Date:August 25, 2016
Sponsored by

White Papers & Special Reports

Cable VoIP 2.0: Voice Moves to the Cloud

October 2016

Cable providers led the charge on the VoIP evolution and won customers and market share. Now voice networks are evolving again. The cloud voice platform has ...

Understanding Ultra High Definition Television

October 2016

Over the last 10 years, high definition television (HDTV) has been replacing standard definition television as the expected viewing format for television pro...

Are You Ready for DOCSIS 3.1? The Future of Cable Technology and How to Prepare Your Network

October 2016

DOCSIS 3.1 promises 10x capacity throughput and a range of technical benefits for cable providers and users alike. Are you ready? Discover the technical adva...

BTR Blogs

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

FCC Rethinks Set-Top Plan

September 10, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - The FCC has reworked the "unlock the set-top b...


In Memoriam: Richard Covell

August 18, 2016

By Rob Stuehrk, Publisher - We at Broadband Technology Report were sadde...

BTR Managing Editor Ron Hendrickson

Court Overturns FCC Municipal Broadband Order

August 11, 2016

By Ron Hendrickson - You win some, and you lose some, and the FCC just l...

Featured Hangouts

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this inf...

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

DOCSIS 3.1: A Look Ahead

Watch a 30-minute video chat of experts from a variety of related disciplines discuss how close deployments really ar...

Featured Hangout

4K 4 U: How to Prepare for UltraHD Video

4K/UltraHD video is coming - consumers are buying the TV sets, and more content is becoming available. Watch this informative Hangout on demand by clicking the link above.

Sponsored by Verimatrix.