Broadband Communities

MAY-JUN 2012

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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V ID EO In the Era of Multiple Screens, Quality Counts As consumers juggle more video service options, they become more discerning about the quality of the video experience. Service providers should view this as an opportunity, not a threat. By Steve Day ■ Cheetah Technologies T he television industry is going through a period of rapid change and innova- tion – a sort of video re- naissance – as content and service providers compete for consumer eyeballs. Te ability to stream content online through over-the-top (OTT) services and new broadcast streaming services poses the threat of cord cutting, and as a result operators face a new chal- lenge in the battle to retain subscribers. As the video wars heat up, ensuring that customers receive the best possible quality of experience (QoE) and qual- ity of service (QoS) will become an advantage in the increasingly competi- tive video market. For video providers especially, achieving a balance between keeping up with industry innovation and addressing fundamental network is- sues is essential. QoS and QoE have become buzz- words in the video industry, encompass- ing a multitude of aspects of the user ex- perience. In general, QoS refers to how well a service is delivered across a net- work, and QoE refers to the experience a viewer has while watching video – what the viewer can physically see and how it can be characterized in terms of quality. With reports from the 2012 NAB Show reflecting a paradigm shift toward a multiplatform digital future, tradi- tional providers must adopt a strategic approach and recognize that video qual- ity is directly tied to revenue. A recent Informa survey indicates advertisers may be willing to pay more for guaranteed Automating network maintenance helps avoid network fatigue and keep service quality high. QoS, which demonstrates the impor- tance of quality regardless of platform. QOS BEGINS WITH THE NETWORK QoS always begins at the network level. Proactively managing network health seems obvious for operators, but it's a common challenge with a significant ef- fect on QoE and customer satisfaction. Understanding how to mitigate and resolve network disruptions is a critical first step to ensuring that video is seam- lessly delivered across the network. Surprisingly, regular maintenance causes network fatigue over time, so au- tomating operations as much as possible can help avoid overtaxing the network by opening, closing or modifying re- sources frequently. Mechanical failures, including loose or damaged connectors, cable shield damage or signal leakage, can hinder video delivery, as can such external factors as temperature and weather. Unless they are addressed in a timely fashion, all these roadblocks in- hibit successful delivery and ultimately About the Author Steve Day is senior vice president of marketing and strategy for Cheetah Technologies, a carrier-class systems management solutions developer that supplies QoS management systems to broadband network providers and QoE management systems to video service providers. Learn more at www.cheetahtech.com. 100 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MAY/JUNE 2012 affect the video itself, causing viewer frustration and potential abandonment. As well, the Federal Communica- tions Commission requires operators to generate daily service reports showing proof of performance, a time-consum- ing undertaking that can be proactively avoided through automation to ensure that various network test points meet regulatory requirements. Network management is a 24/7 op- eration. Daily tasks such as changing pads and equalizers can have a nega- tive effect on service delivery if done incorrectly. Tese manual errors can be avoided by automating as many tasks as possible and establishing set standards for operations personnel to ensure con- sistent QoS at any day or time. For decades, cable operators have been delivering video to the home, and their networks, though solid, still re- quire regular maintenance and atten- tion to thwart service delivery inhibi- tors. Over recent months, there has been

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