Testing DOCSIS 3.0

Cable providers are using DOCSIS 3.0 as an enabling technology.  To ensure the highest quality of service, a complete testing solution can allows you to verify compliancy and performance testing.

DOCSIS testing should include stateful two-way interactive flows.  To measure true quality of experience or service satisfaction require a ‘Per flow’ test approach in which stateful CPE traffic is presented on the cable modem to CPE Interface.  This allows you to test performance on an end-to-end basis from the CMCI (Cable Modem to CPE Interface) to CMTS-NSI (Cable Modem Termination System – Network Side Interface).  Performance testing includes everything from DHCP, IPv6 CPE behavior, QoS effectiveness and the upstream/Downstream channel bonding capability.

Shenick diversifEye “Per-Flow” Test System can deliver these capabilities.  This PDF is an overview of how diversifeye can help you with your testing requirements.


HeartBeat™ by the Numbers

This webinar was presented on August 6Th by Mike Burke Of IQ Services at the Contact Center Performance Forum.   The topic of the of this webinar was “Great Customer Experiences Start with Consistently High Performing Technology”   How do you create a positive customer experience if the technology required to handle and deliver the calls to the agent fails!   When your customer finally do get through they’ve already been preconditioned with a lousy experience, and who will they take it out on?  The CSRs of course!

During a typical month we generate anywhere from half a million to 600,000 calls with our HeartBeat service which generates test calls one-at-a time around the clock to ensure that your systems are available and working as intended, and if not a notification is generated.  A surprising fact that became apparent is that anywhere from 4% to upwards of 6% of these calls encountered some kind of availability or performance issue?

Of these calls we corrected for repeat issues (ones that last for a while and are therefore detected over & over again), this is the distribution we saw:

So out of 600,000 test calls in a typical month, 12,000 are answered incorrectly, or not at all,  another 12,000 arecustomersbeing led on a wild goose chase all the way to the point of finally being able to retrieve the info they need only to find out it wasn’t actually available.  And another 6,000 callers are just getting cut off – they get to start all over again.

So as a call center manager working hard to keep your people and your customers and your business units all happy, and you don’t know if the technology you are counting on to take care of your customers and offload to your agents is doing the job or not.  I know it seems that 94% sounds like an “A”, but in a contact center can we really afford 5% of your customer interactions not starting off on the right foot.

This Webinar discusses the value of learning what is happing in your system today so that you can make improvements and help improve your Customer Experience.

Rogers interested in Globalive spectrum; MTS, Videotron unlikely to invest

Canada’s Financial Post reports that Nadir Mohamed, CEO of quad-play operator Rogers Communications, has indicated interest in acquiring wireless spectrum from Globalive Wireless if the start-up is prevented from launching following a recent regulatory decision blocking it from doing so based on infringements of the country’s foreign ownership codes. Mr Mohamed said on Friday that ‘Rogers would be for sure interested in picking it up,’ adding that ‘I’m sure others would be.’ Globalive owns near-nationwide frequencies bought in an auction last year, but its imminent network launch was suddenly halted last month when regulator the CRTC ruled that the firm was controlled by its foreign backer, Egypt’s Orascom Telecom. Despite Orascom’s 65% equity stake being within the rules due to the number of voting shares controlled by Canadians, the watchdog found the Egyptian firm to hold ‘an unacceptable level of influence.’ Globalive may still appeal to Industry Canada to overturn the ruling, which went against the latter’s March 2009 ruling that the firm was sufficiently Canadian-controlled. In other, related, news it was reported that two other potential companies linked with a possible plan to ‘rescue’ Globalive by investing in the company, Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) and Quebecor (parent of Quebec’s Videotron) were ‘unlikely’ to do so.

Bell EBITDA up 1.5% as it reports record post-paid sign-ups

Canadian wireline, wireless and broadband provider Bell Canada’s operating revenues grew by 1.2% year-on-year in the three months ended 30 September 2009 to CAD3.788 billion (USD3.616 billion), and EBITDA rose 1.5% to CAD1.448 billion. Higher revenues were boosted by the acquisitions of retailer The Source and the remaining 50% of the equity of MVNO Virgin Mobile Canada not already owned by Bell, as well as growth in TV/video revenues that helped more than offset declines in local access, long-distance, and fixed network data revenues. Cellular operator Bell Mobility had total net activations of 135,000 in the third quarter, whilst post-paid net activations of 122,000 were a 3Q record for the company. Bell invested CAD589 million in capital expenditure in the three-month period, or 4.1% more than in 3Q08, supporting projects to enhance its wireless networks, including the deployment of an HSPA 3.5G network, which launched in early November, and the continuing expansion of its fixed broadband network, including a programme to build out fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) technology in conjunction with rolling out fibre directly to multiple dwelling units (MDUs). Bell Canada’s parent group BCE, which includes regional telco Bell Aliant, reported operating revenues of CAD4.457 billion in July-September 2009, up 0.5% y-o-y, whilst group EBITDA climbed by 1.8% to CAD1.801 billion.

Avoiding The Perfect VoIP Storm

Perfect VoIP StormAlthough now a mainstream technology, managing VoIP remains a challenge for even the most seasoned IT pro. The application’s sensitivity to packet loss and delay and users intolerance for anything less than audio perfection can create a troubleshooting nightmare.

1. Understand and measure call quality

There are a variety of metrics and variables you can use to assess VoIP call quality, including jitter, MOS, R-Factor, gap density, burst density, Quality of Service prioritization, and compression techniques. Ensure accurately analysis by learning how to measure these attributes.

2. Make QoS a priority
Incorrectly set QoS precedence for VoIP traffic leads to delays in packet delivery and reduced call quality.

3. Deploy analysis tools strategically
Placing analysis consoles and probes on your network requires a clear understanding of VoIP traffic patterns. Are you concerned with monitoring VoIP traffic locally, over WAN links, or both? Depending on your objectives, place your analysis tools to ensure optimal visibility of VoIP communications. Learn more.

4. Compare jitter to overall bandwidth utilization
When jitter becomes a problem, look at the big picture. A correlation between jitter and bandwidth usage means the problem is overall network usage. If there is no direct correlation, excessive jitter might be caused by isolated network factors that require further investigation.

5. Proactively monitor VoIP activity
Utilize monitoring and notification tools to speed problem resolution. Determine “normal” or “acceptable” levels of activity for your network and its users. Then set up thresholds within your analyzer to alert you when performance degrades.

6. Baseline network traffic
To truly understand VoIP traffic, capture and store long-term network data. Only with critical trending data can you accurately perform baselining activities. Baselining validates VoIP performance, helps future capacity planning efforts, and provides long-term understanding of VoIP health.

Visit our online resources for in-depth info on VoIP and other unified communication applications.

Videotron reports steady growth, rolls out 50Mbps to nearly 2m premises

In the quarter ending 30 September 2009, Quebec-based cableco Videotron increased its cable TV customer base by 27,100 to end the quarter with 1.76 million subscribers, whilst its cable broadband internet subscribers increased by 35,500 to 1,145,400, and a net 44,300 cable fixed telephony lines were activated to bring its total to 979,100, whilst there were 79,800 active users of its MVNO wireless telephony service at the end of the period, a quarterly increase of 6,300. During the quarter, Videotron also made its ‘Ultimate Speed Internet’ 50Mbps package available to more than 500,000 additional households and businesses in the Greater Montreal and Saguenay areas, raising the total premises passed to nearly two million.

Cablecos continue telecoms land-grab; 15% market share and growing

Cableco Growth
In the first half of 2009 cable companies around the world generated over USD30 billon in telecoms service revenues, primarily from broadband internet and telephony services. The sales were derived from a customer base that includes 82 million broadband internet subscribers and 49 million telephony subscribers. The revenue figure may seem relatively small compared to a global wireline services market of well over USD700 billion per year, but cablecos’ telecoms revenues have grown 28% per annum since 2003, while the aggregate wireline market has grown at just 4% annually.

While cablecos are not yet able to compete directly with telcos in many countries, TeleGeography’s new research shows that they now account for 29% of broadband subscribers and 9% of telephony subscribers in markets where they are licensed to compete. This equates to approximately 15% of residential telecoms revenues in those countries, a figure which continues to grow apace.

While cable companies’ success in the telecoms arena is predominantly a feature of North America and Western Europe, this is changing. TeleGeography projects that cablecos in Eastern European and Latin America will gain significant market share in the coming years. Cablecos in the Asia-Pacific region will play a more limited role, however. While both China and India have huge cable TV markets, cablecos there are excluded from offering telecoms services, and this is unlikely to change any time soon.

‘IPTV has been getting huge amounts of attention over the past three years and this has tended to blind people to the impact cablecos are having on the telecoms market’, said TeleGeography’s John Dinsdale. ‘Traditional telcos have been losing substantial market share while leading cablecos have succeeded in transforming their businesses to the point where almost 40% of their revenues now come from telecoms. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global all now feature in the top 15 ranking of broadband internet service providers, and telecoms remains an engine for growth for many cablecos around the world,’ added Dinsdale.

This week there has been a flurry of third quarter earnings announcements from cablecos which confirm these trends. Even in the highly competitive and mature markets of North America and Western Europe, the leading cablecos have grown their telecoms revenue by almost 10% relative to the third quarter of 2008. Despite the added pressure of a deep recession, these leading cablecos have seen their broadband internet subscriber bases grow by 7% and their telephony subscriber bases by 13% over the last twelve months.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Insight provides detailed subscriber and market forecasts for over 160 countries and is a companion to the GlobalComms Database, a regularly updated online database of wireline, wireless and broadband competition. No other telecoms market research service rivals their collective geographic scope and depth of coverage.

Application Analysis and Probe Placement

ProbeEnsuring timely access to business-critical application servers is what justifies having a network (and an IT staff) in the first place. Effectively monitoring applications means measuring how well key components of the IT infrastructure are performing over time and identifying problems before they affect your business

Probe placement greatly affects the visibility and accuracy of monitoring networks and applications. Network analyzers are distributed, allowing a single console to monitor multiple switch segments through the use of probes. Probe placement for application visibility in such an environment will largely depend upon the organization’s monitoring objectives. The objective of high-level network visibility can be achieved by placing probes at the core, while closely monitoring the user experience is achieved by placing probes at the edge. Each approach has trade-offs and many organizations use a mixed strategy in determining probe placement.

A probe can only “see” traffic that passes through the network segment where the probe resides. The location of the probe can also affect response-time analysis, because the probe performs the time-stamping function that makes accurate analysis possible.

If the probes are placed at the network edge (for example, by monitoring SPAN sessions obtained from switches at the edge), network managers get a delay reading that more closely reflects user-experienced delay. The tradeoff is that significantly more probes are required to monitor all of the transactions occurring across a multi-segment network.

In placing the probes closer to the application servers (for example, by monitoring a SPAN session of the server ports on the core switch), network managers can see all of the transactions with fewer probes. This visibility is important for tracking and reporting performance across an enterprise. While placing probes closer to application servers may minimally mask how users experience delay, the network manager will be able to determine changes in delay, and identify important application performance and use trends.

Probe Placement

An organization should base probe placement upon its monitoring objectives. When monitoring applications that are sensitive to real-time delays or with significant amounts of peer-to-peer traffic like VoIP, it makes sense to place probes closer to the network edge. For larger organizations where enterprise-wide reporting is critical, managers should consider placing probes closer to application servers. Often organizations with multiple monitoring priorities, like VoIP and enterprise-wide reporting, will take a mixed approach of deploying probes at the edge to closely monitor VoIP performance as well as next to core to ensure visibility to all transactions.

Learn how we can help you monitor your network traffic with the right technology at  Telnet Networks