Handheld IP video tester troubleshoots MoCA home networks

June 20, 2008 -- At NXTcomm 2008, Spirent Communications introduced its Tech-X Flex, a handheld modular unit billed as the first to support testing of IP video service quality over residential Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) networks.

June 20, 2008 -- At NXTcomm 2008, Spirent Communications introduced its Tech-X Flex, a handheld network and service quality tester to identify and troubleshoot IP video services within the consumer's home. The modular unit is billed as the first of its kind to support testing of IP video service quality over residential Multimedia over Coax (MoCA) networks. The tester also supports current in-home networking technologies including Ethernet and WLAN.

With the Tech-X Flex, Spirent contends that telcos and cable TV operators can deliver the highest subscriber Quality of Experience (QoE) by verifying and troubleshooting both network and service related issues inside the customer premise. The Tech-X Flex enables field technicians to easily address the complexity associated with in-home networks when rolling out IP-based video services.

"Despite the growing deployment of IPTV, in-home networks still pose a major challenge, and existing handheld and remote diagnostic solutions only identify, validate and troubleshoot problems outside the subscriber's home," comments Olga Yashkova, industry analyst for measurement and instrumentation tech research firm Frost & Sullivan. "With Spirent Tech-X Flex, field technicians can confidently validate the in-home network, thereby minimizing misdiagnosis and expensive replacement of customer premise equipment with no resolution to the problem."

Spirent claims the Tech-X Flex is the only test instrument that allows technicians to conduct in-home qualification of MoCA along with 10/100 Ethernet and 802.11 networks in a single unit. The unit supports a dual MoCA test interface for in-home networks. With both dual MoCA and dual Ethernet interfaces, Spirent says the Tech-X Flex offers field technicians an in-line monitoring solution that helps them avoid issues with proprietary signaling between the set-top box and the video server.

"Spirent is an industry leader in remote diagnostics and field testing for triple play services and this latest introduction only serves to extend that leadership," comments Sean Yarborough, director of marketing at Spirent Communications. "We listened to our customers, both telcos and cable operators, and developed a best in class hand-held tester for in-home voice, video, and data networks including those using proprietary IP video middleware."

The PC-like capabilities of Tech-X Flex enable integration with back-office systems, limiting the need for technicians to take the laptop out of the truck. Automated expert diagnostics accelerate the field troubleshooting process by analyzing and correlating various test results to identify faults and prioritize those with the greatest impact on service. Via these capabilities, the company says that service providers may experience reduced repeat rates for network installation and repair, and shorter job completion times for triple play network work orders.

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