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Cable Technology Feature Article

January 17, 2012

ZCorum Looks to Bridge Broadband Diagnostics Gap between Telcos and Cable

By Mini Swamy, TMCnet Contributor

Telcos that are used to suffering from a lack of tools specifically designed to manage DSL networks can now breathe a sigh of relief as ZCorum, a provider of managed broadband services, is taking it upon itself to help level the playing field for telcos.

With a little help from TruVizion, a diagnostics application for cable modem networks, the company will develop a project that boasts the TR-069 standard for management of DSL modems.

Scott Helms, vice president of technology at ZCorum, said he is well aware of the challenges that telcos face and noted that the company had initially started offering dial-up service and later helped roll out DSL and subsequently supported cable providers. It was then that it became clear that cable would score over telcos when it came to managing broadband services.

According to Helms, cable providers had the benefit of starting out with a very strong standards organization in CableLabs, which developed the DOCSIS standard for the provisioning and management of cable modems.

“That standard made it much easier to develop tools to diagnose subscriber and network issues, because you knew your code would work with any network gear and customer premise equipment that was DOCSIS-compliant.” Helms said, noting that this is in stark contrast with DSL, which has no single organization responsible for the development of standards. “It was a long time before there was consensus on a single standard to manage DSL modems.”

“I think the reputation of DSL service has suffered because of that,” he added. “Cable providers were able to be more efficient in their operation, could manage their networks better, and resolve issues faster. Over time this made people believe that DSL technology is inferior to cable when that’s not the case. Telcos just haven’t had the tools to help them improve their operation and the reliability of their service.”

This is where ZCorum can help, according to company officials. Its proven diagnostic tool, TruVizion, is expected to combine with TR-069 standard for DSL, resulting in perhaps the first-of-its-kind diagnostic solution for DSL networks.

With a single combined tool, Helms indicated that a successful diagnostic solution for both cable and DSL networks would be in place.

In related news, ZCorum announced that TechVizion, its mobile app for cable modem diagnostics, is now available for use on Amazon's inexpensive Kindle Fire tablet. TechVizion, in conjunction with its parent application TruVizion, is the company's diagnostic software used to track down and analyze issues within cable modem and VoIP networks. TechVizion is already available on Android (News - Alert)-based smartphones and tablets, as well as the iPhone and iPad.

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Mini Swamy is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin