MSOs must move Ethernet service verification and testing out of the headend and into the network, according to Sunrise Telecom, which will use next week's SCTE Cable Tec Expo to emphasize the point. Cable networks are increasingly Ethernet-heavy but the industry has traditionally delivered best-effort services. That's changing with a sharpened focus on the commercial customer and wireless backhaul.
"Right now the focus is in the network space, at least from the MSO's side, but it is getting driven farther down to the residential installer and business installer," Ken Fridley, Sunrise's senior manager-technical knowledge told FierceCable. "I think it's going to be critical in the next couple years."
Fridley said that cable does a good job testing its Ethernet service at the headend and verifying service at the consumer premise. As the industry begins to offer SLAs mixed with QoS guarantees to commercial customers and taps to the mobile backhaul, it must have a better handle on what's happening at nodes and remote locations, he said.
"That's where the testing needs to be done. There will always be a need for physical layer (testing) but above that there are packets getting where they need to be," he said. "We're talking about different VLANs and whether you're transmitting on the proper VLAN; if video traffic is getting through with priority over regular best-effort Internet data or if VoIP traffic is being carried with a low enough latency and jitter to not impact quality."
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