Product Spotlight: Ndepth VOD and Headend VOD Network Audit

Dec 16, 2002  •  Post A Comment

What it is: Ndepth VOD and Headend VOD Network Audit, two new service programs from N2 Broadband, which distributes on-demand content digitally via satellite to cable systems’ headends.
Ndepth VOD/How it works: Ndepth VOD is the formalization of an ad hoc service that the company has offered during the past year to cable operators in which it sends engineers and network specialists on site to a cable system to quickly detect and troubleshoot problems on a VOD network. Such issues could be dropped connections to billing systems, errors from VOD servers and component problems such as a server malfunction. “[Ndepth VOD] prepares them, the operator, to manage their system,” said Raj Amin, senior director of business development for N2 Broadband. “[Operators] have realized they need help on the best way to train people in the VOD service. We believe systems will want to have this done in the preliminary process to get the operational team up to speed on the best processes to detect problems.” The process takes about two to four weeks. N2 introduced the service formally in September with Time Warner’s Manhattan system.
Headend VOD Network Audit/How it works: Headend VOD Network Audit was launched in mid-November. Under this program, N2 dispatches a network architect to audit the entire VOD architecture of a cable system and determine whether it is configured optimally for VOD scalability, manageability and performance, Mr. Amin said. That includes assessing routers, billing systems and video servers to make sure they are constructed properly. “We review that information with the technician on site and make any recommendations we can to help them architect the network in the best possible way,” he said. “We may recommend changes in how they configure the network, if there is enough storage capacity, what traffic levels may look like.” The process takes about two weeks.
Resources: Mr. Amin expects cable systems to turn to N2 for these services rather that implement such processes internally because of resource allocation. “Cable systems are focused on solving the central issues they have,” he said. “To take someone off of an operational role and put them onto a network audit, they don’t usually have the time. We have people who do this 24/7 and are focused on VOD and only VOD.”