Leveraging Intelligent Nodes to Optimize Truck Rolls, Time, and Energy Efficiency
Blog by Jonathan Rigby, General Manager for Teleste Intercept in the U.S. The post was originally published on TelesteHUB Spring 2020.
From labor costs, fuel expenditure and maintenance, manually operating nodes can be a costly affair – A concrete example of where these costs emerge are multi-dwelling units in the US with tens of thousands of broadband nodes in hard-to-access locations. Teleste’s Intelligent Networks helps operators keep the costs in control by providing automation and remote access to nodes and their plug-ins.
Everyone in the cable industry knows how costly it can be to send out technicians to adjust, repair or simply to tune MDU nodes. Larger cable companies have tens of thousands of nodes deployed in thousands of MDU’s (multiple dwelling units) across the US. Getting access to individual nodes can be tricky, as the physical hardware is regularly installed in basements, attics and other hard-to-access locations that are often dependent upon 3rd parties for access. An individual gain or tilt adjustment that would otherwise take minutes often requires truck roll and up to 2-3 hours of labor from a technician.
Intelligent technology ushers in a more efficient way of working
Teleste’s solution to increase efficiency and cut costs in field operations is driven by Intelligent Networks technology, which consists of remotely manageable and automatically adjusting broadband nodes and amplifiers, as well as their management software. With the technology, you can get rid of the physical maintenance truck rolls almost completely.
Intelligent Networks is already a proven technology and has been widely adopted in the UK and several other European markets. The majority of US-based cable operators still rely on physically adjusting the gain and slope of amplifiers and RF-plugins. This is a tradition that we at Teleste aim to disrupt and modernize to the benefit of cable operators.
Cost-savings for MDU’s through remote and automatic adjustments
A great example of the Intelligent Networks technology is Teleste’s ACE8, a compact-sized, intelligent MDU node that is fully remotely controllable and can be adjusted and aligned from any chosen location. A technician can sit at an office on the east coast of the US and is able to monitor, manage and adjust the ACE8 nodes anywhere in the country from a mobile device or laptop.
On an operating expense aside, the cost savings achieved through remote management and automatic adjustment, especially on larger operating scales like MDU’s, can be very significant. In certain parts of the US, cable companies are required to conduct seasonal visits to repair and equalize products. With the ACE8 the technicians, who are generally very busy to start with, have more time to focus on more important tasks that better take advantage of their skills and expertise.
In 2018, Teleste’s power-saving innovation was selected as a winner in Adaptive Power Challenge, organized by SCTE∙ISBE, Liberty Global and Comcast – and the power-save function is, of course, included in the ACE8. It automatically adjusts the power consumed in broadband nodes and amplifiers to the actual network capacity in use and allows operators to save in energy without sacrificing the quality of service for subscribers.
All it requires is a single button press
Historically, you’ve had to have a technician at the head-end and the technician at the MDU who make sure that the node is correctly aligned on the network. With setting up the ACE8 node, only a single button press is required and the unit will set itself up automatically, with no manual adjusting or tuning required. This not only offers significant savings in installation time but also means that the process can be completed with less skilled technicians. Ingress noise can automatically be blocked which prevents entire segments from getting affected. Management system is alerted and location of noise is shown on the map.
ACE8 nodes have been up and running in Europe for a handful of years and the major European cable operators have had a chance to study and analyze the benefits gained. According to the data from a 5-year case study, deploying ACE8 MDU nodes provided operational savings of 30 % compared to traditional solutions. The operational saving split was: Repair & Maintenance 15 %, Ingress Control 15 %, Diplex Filter Change 19 %, Installation 18 % and to 33 % derived from the power-save feature.
US-based cable companies are on the path to upgrading to more intelligent networks and automation. This, of course, requires a fundamental shift in how they operate and service their products in the field, and this is something with which Teleste is happy to assist.
In addition to the Intelligent Networks technology, Teleste ACE8 includes many other excellent features including and the latest GaN technology that makes its output ranges especially wide and results in improved noise resilience. With the downstream frequency band reaching up to 1.2 GHz and the upstream band being easily updated to 200 MHz, the ACE8 ensures that future bandwidth needs will be met in deep fiber solutions. On the below video, the ACE8 is highlighted by my colleague Rami Kimari, Head of Teleste’s HFC products:
offers a wide range of intelligent optical nodes and amplifiers, and software for Intelligent Network management. We also have long-term experience in network architectures and their design, planning, installation and maintenance.
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About the author
Jonathan Rigby, General Manager for Teleste Intercept in the U.S.
I am currently working as General Manager for Teleste Intercept in the U.S. Over the past 15 years I’ve witnessed simple wired networks evolve into complex automation solutions and enjoy staying abreast of these changes. The challenge of delivering even higher data rates and 4K TV is an interesting topic to keep up with. See my LinkedIn.