TMM Must Evolve as Ops' Targets Diversify

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By Carl Weinschenk, Senior Editor

Broadband Technology Report has just finished its month-long look at the state of test, measurement and monitoring. The bottom line is that as important as TMM was in the past, it is more vital now - and will continue to gain in importance as the industry evolves.

The cable industry is involved in a slew of new things: new services, new networks, new devices. It all is new. Making sure that all of these services run smoothly is job one. Layering services on top of each other - and putting it all on top of legacy offerings, which remain the industry's bread and butter - makes the need for advances in TMM obvious.

Ways must be found to boil through more data to find root causes, measure new metrics, transition from quality of service to quality of experience, boil down the amount of data coming back to the operator and perform other tasks that it didn't have had to pay attention to before.

This is complex - but it is a job that the industry and its ecosystem must proactively address.

Another reason that operators must redouble their TMM efforts is that its commercial services initiatives are moving up in class. It's doing this in two ways: The cable industry long has focused on small businesses. Such organizations usually are served by the core HFC network. Large enterprises - those that are on separate networks and demand SLAs - increasingly are open to operators' pitches. Wireless companies, another group with exceedingly exacting demands, also are calling for help as their backhaul traffic explodes due to 4G LTE.

So the need is there. But no matter how deep it is, cable operators' pitches to enterprises and wireless companies will be short - and the pitcher will be ushered off the field like a left-hander who doesn't have his curve working - if it can't be shown that adequate TMM infrastructure is in place.

Test, measurement and monitoring always have been important elements of cable operators' toolbox. The industry must expand the sophistication of these tools to keep pace with the growing complexity of services offered residential subscribers and the demands of the business customers that operators increasingly are targeting.

Carl Weinschenk is the Senior Editor of Broadband Technology Report. Reach him at carl@broadbandtechreport.com.

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