Josh Unruh EMPORIA, KANSAS—ValuNet is an FTTP, IPTV, ISP and telephony service provider that’s rapidly expanding our fiber reach to commercial and residential neighborhoods. We needed a monitoring tool that would enable us to proactively isolate issues across our network before they affected customers. While evaluating equipment for this purpose, we found Sencore’s VideoBridge to be not only an excellent solution with support through all phases of product evaluation, but with functionality vastly superior to that of the competition. No one gave us both the support and complete solution that Sencore provided.
ENSURING IPTV SIGNAL QUALITY
We purchased Sencore’s VB120 for monitoring 49 streams from satellites and antennas providing signals for local ingest, a VB220 for monitoring the 205 streams we receive terrestrially for ingest of nationally distributed content, and a portable VB12 (10 channel) unit that’s used for pinpoint troubleshooting.
We perform fulltime monitoring at the edge of our network where we receive content from our providers. This monitoring helps us quickly determine whether any video issues seen on our local network are problems being generated by our providers, or are problems that are being created somewhere within our plant.
Before we had VideoBridge we would periodically flip though channels manually looking for signal quality issues. And most of the time we wouldn’t know about an issue until a customer reported it. Since implementing Sencore’s VideoBridge we’re generally alerted to video issues before our customers notice them, and with VideoBridge’s ability to look back over the history on every channel to spot any long-term jitter and media loss issues, we’re also able to backtrack and make correlations between video problems and other events occurring in our network.
RESOLVES ‘THEM OR US?’ ISSUES
When we’ve had issues with intermittent tiling, the Sencore devices have given us the means to diagnose and correct these and in doing so allow us to maintain our video at a high level of quality. On the rare occasion where a customer has noticed a video problem before we do, instead of chasing our tails as we did previously, we now simply look at the Sencore ingest probes to establish that we’re receiving a clean stream and then take the portable (VB-12) probe and move down the network until we get to the customer premise and then we know for sure that the issue is being caused by the customer’s equipment.
It would be nice if more of the industry used tools such as the VideoBridge. We partner with several content providers—some of which are very big national players—but inevitably, when we call to report a problem they’ll check the stream and look for issues with traditional “decode and display” methods. If they used Sencore VideoBridge probes they could see the errors right away, and would most likely have known about the problem before we called.
Installation of the Sencore hardware was simple, and the company’s support and training has been impeccable. Sencore held our hand throughout the project and continues to be very responsive. We don’t just recommend VideoBridge; we think it’s insane to operate a video service without it.
Josh Unruh is lead network engineer at ValuNet and has been with the company since 2012. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact Sencore at 605-978-4600 or visit www.sencore.com.
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