Scientific-Atlanta's Pointer System Detects Network Outages

Scientific-Atlanta has developed a network monitoring system that helps track the two-way status of a cable network.

Pointer, the Web-based system, identifies specific points where network problems have occurred and helps cable operators dispatch technicians to one network location to address the issue.

The software currently monitors traffic on the cable system that verifies the two-way status between set-top boxes and the Scientific-Atlanta Digital Network Control Center (DNCS). Future versions are expected to monitor two-way status between cable modems and the cable modem termination system CMTS.

The software and server are connected to the operator's billing system and the Pointer system then "auto discovers" the cable network's topology, creating a hierarchical view of the devices on the network.

Using a Web browser, engineering, operations and network management can use the system's view of the cable system to drill down and find the point of failure in the network. Alerts are then sent via e-mail or to phone pagers when the performance of the system falls below its defined threshold.