Zenith Cable Modem - First Zenith Network Network Operations Center (NOC)

First Zenith Network Network Operations Center (NOC)

Modeled after the University of California San Diego Telecommunications NOC at the Central Utilities Building: Novel LANalyzer software w/ internal cable modem, and somebody to manually move the test connection between frequency translators. Only one frequency translator could be measured at a time. HP Openview (HPOV) for Windows, version 3.1, and a 24 port HP Advancestack Ethernet HUB with AUI “uplink.” This combination allowed the Advancestack hub to send out IPX diagnostic packets to the NDIS driver in each PC. Assuming the PC was not rebooted, and running the driver at all times, the HP openview application would display the Netware device ID – 00000,mac-address as there was no real Netware server / router. HPOV displayed each device in purple if active, and blue if discovered and non-responsive. The management software would generate NDIS “diagnostic pings” from the hub, and report the number of successful responses. Rebooting the PC, loading / unloading the driver, or experiencing any number of RF faults would cause each cable modem to transition from purple to blue hundreds of times per day.

HPOV could export the log file to a Paradox Database for later analysis and trending. Eliminating the PC reloads / driver reloads from the RF faults, and correlating RF faults on a single frequency translator vs. the entire flat network proved beyond the capabilities of the Zenith Network. These methods became the justification and fundamental research for what was later patented by others: Patent Numbers: 6,032,019, 5,943,604 Echo device method for locating upstream ingress noise gaps at cable television head ends. Eventually, this technique became mandatory in DOCSIS 3.0, although it was rejected and ignored for 3 years as a “proprietary extension to DOCSIS” by @Home, and copied by every DOCSIS CMTS vendor.

By September 1994, the NOC was expanded with the introduction of 2 @ Cisco Catalyst 1200 Ethernet to FDDI switches, and 2 @ Cabletron MMAC-3 FNB hubs (6 Ethernet + 2 FDDI), constructing a reliable path from the Federal Headend to the El Cajon headend, and eliminating one unreliable path between the Advancestack hub and the various Channelmizers / frequency translators.

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