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October 17, 2008

How to Better Manage IPTV, Triple Play and Quad Play Performance

By Michelle Robart, TMCnet Editor

IPTV (News - Alert) provides an exciting new opportunity for service providers to deliver video content over VDSL- and PON-based access networks, or more generally over IP networks. This presents significant challenges, as IP-based video services are even more sensitive to network impairments than Voice over IP.
IPTV is still in its infancy, and service providers must do their best to provide the highest quality of service possible in order to compete with cable and satellite providers and prevent new customer "churn." At the same time, they need to control costs, which means keeping the number of truck rolls and support calls to a minimum. To satisfy both needs, providers need an effective, scalable, and convenient way to monitor the performance of video services on the customer premises and to perform remote testing and diagnosis of problems when they occur.
In a VoIP network, identifying and resolving performance problems is fairly straightforward. By comparison, IP video can be extremely complex, with a number of highly variable elements that determine overall system performance. Transmission quality and rates of packet loss are still important, but other factors—such as codec configuration, compression and frame rates, and the nature of the video content itself—also have an impact on performance. Degradation in video quality can be present even when there are few (or no) transmission errors occurring.
Counting lost packets is simply not enough. To manage the performance of a complex IP video system effectively, service providers need sophisticated tools that do more than just recognize there’s a quality problem, but can also determine the cause(s) and identify specific factors that need to be fixed or reconfigured in order to resolve the problem.
Telchemy (News - Alert) is the world's first company to provide Voice and Video IP performance management technology that considers the effects of time-varying network impairments. The company offers embedded performance analysis technology and turnkey software applications that provide IPTV and Triple/Quad Play service providers with a comprehensive solution for performance monitoring, testing, and troubleshooting of subscribers.
Telchemy recently introduced SQlive, a groundbreaking IPTV and IP Videoconferencing performance monitoring software application. Due to its compact size, SQlive can be easily integrated into IP set-top boxes, but it is still powerful enough for use at the video head end, where it can monitor large numbers of high-definition IPTV streams.

Supported by Telchemy’s VQmon/HD performance analysis technology, SQlive is designed to assess the performance of IP Video streams (including scrambled/ encrypted video), and produces real-time Video Mean Opinion Scores (MOS) and a wide range of quality of experience (QoE) and diagnostic metrics. SQlive’s powerful performance analysis algorithm has the ability to automatically identify individual video frames, perform a high-level analysis of content type (e.g., recognizing high/low levels of motion and detail), and detect and report abnormal content events such as frozen frames, blocky/pixelated images, and blank video.
Telchemy's VQmon/HD performance analysis software is designed for integration into IP set-top boxes, ONUs, and residential gateways, non-intrusively monitoring video stream quality and providing QoE /QoS feedback to service providers in real time. Video service quality reports are automatically sent to a central collection and mediator server (such as Telchemy's SQmediator), giving service providers real-time feedback on service performance and detailed troubleshooting information for individual video sessions.
DVQattest/RE gives service providers a powerful tool for both pre-signup testing of new subscribers and advanced troubleshooting of existing IPTV or Triple/Quad play customers. DVQattest/RE's software test agents can be quickly and easily downloaded to new subscriber desktops and used to exchange simulated IPTV and/or VoIP traffic with a test server on the service provider network for pre-deployment testing applications.
Integrated VQmon technology enables DVQattest test agents to report real-time quality scores and performance metrics for video, voice, and network tests, and provides advanced diagnostic information, including a straightforward, text-based analysis of any performance problems detected. DVQattest/RE's advanced problem diagnosis features can also be used to troubleshoot quality of service issues affecting existing subscribers.
For more information on using DVQattest/RE for active subscriber testing and troubleshooting, click here or take a look at Telchemy’s DVQattest Product Brochure.

For more information on measuring IPTV service quality and performance, see Telchemy’s IPTV Performance Management Application Note.
Telchemy is a global innovator in Voice and Video over IP Performance Management Technology with its VQmon, DVQattest and SQmon families of service quality monitoring and analysis software products. The company has led the development of VoIP performance management protocols within the industry. 
Founded in 1999, Telchemy has products deployed worldwide and markets its technology through leading networking, test and management product companies. 
Michelle Robart is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Michelle's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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