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Experiences from Monitoring a Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial Broadband Access Network

Perry, Ed; Ramanathan, Srinivas

HPL-98-67

Keyword(s): broadband data networks; access networks; network monitoring & management; hybrid fiber coaxial network technology

Abstract: Hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) technology is emerging as one of the means of delivering high-speed data services to the home. Cable operators worldwide are deploying HFC networks to enable subscriber accesses to the World Wide Web, to Email, Chat rooms, and other data services at speeds ranging up to 10 Mbps. As cable networks, which have hitherto been deployed mainly for analog television broadcasts, begin to support digital on-demand delivery of data services, a number of challenges remain to be tackled. One of the key challenges is to effectively monitor the cable network in order to proactively detect and fix network problems before subscribers notice and complain about them. In this paper, we describe experiences from monitoring a cable network for several months. Using real-world examples, we illustrate that even with minimal monitoring capabilities built-into the current generation of cable modems and other cable networking equipment, it is possible to effectively monitor the status and performance of the cable network and detect problems proactively. Since they rely on built-in instrumentation, our monitoring tools provide an extremely low-cost, attractive alternative to the more expensive, external instrumentation that is currently deployed in many cable networks.

21 Pages

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