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Don't Make PNM the Most Underused Tool in Your Toolbox

October 26th, 2020 | 3 min. read

Don't Make PNM the Most Underused Tool in Your Toolbox
Bill Halvorsen

Bill Halvorsen

Bill Halvorsen, a U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, has worked in the telecommunications industry for 32 years. Starting his career as a radio repairman, electronics technician, and data network specialist in the Marines, Bill was hired by Cisco Systems to deliver services to service providers around the globe. After 21 years at Cisco, Halvorsen was hired by CCI Systems to specialize in Broadband Access Architectures as a Solution Architect.

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“For example, if a given system has 10,000 route miles and 700 spectral impairments are detected within 500 route miles, the unnecessary driving around can be removed from the equation as inefficiency. In this example, assuming 2.5 hours per route mile, we can improve efficiency from 25,000 total sweep hours down to something like 1,250 hours. This represents a stunning 95% increase in operational efficiency.”

-Ed Marchetti Senior Vice President, Technical Operations Comcast Cable

Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM) Is Closing On 12 Years Of Existence, Yet Only a Few Dozen Operators Have:

1) Deployed PNM 

2) Achieved the savings possible by using it

Comcast, who is the GrandFather of PNM, has been successfully using PNM since 2009.  For the rest of us, we are still wanting to see the same savings materialize from using Proactive Network Maintenance. 


PNM Is a Tool 

Like any tool it can be used by many people, from the novice to the expert.  The analogy that I use is that PNM is much like a toolbox full of automotive tools.  I can change my oil, do some basic maintenance on my vehicle, and it still runs (if I am lucky).  That same toolbox in the hand of a certified mechanic, well he can replace every part.  This includes everything from the engine down to the brakes, belts, and bolts.  He also can diagnose the problems a lot easier than I can, usually by using smart tools that assist him in his efforts, while still relying on his expertise and experience to make the right decision.  

There are 3 areas where operators stumble on implementing and adopting the best practices associated with PNM:3 areas where operators underutilize pnm-1

1) They don’t have the expertise to use PNM

2) They don’t take a broad approach to using PNM

3) They don't adapt to new methodologies in their efforts to improve their operational   efficiencies. 

What Is the Impact of the Lack of Expertise?  

“One organization reported that the next anticipated wave of almost 700 retirements would mean the loss of over 27,000 years of experience”, we are not replacing that skill in Cable.  That means we have to adopt new technologies and methodologies, like PNM, to overcome the skills gap, speed up analysis and efficiently resolve problems. 

PNM Is a Great Example of How Silos Impact Operator’s Operations  

This is a tool that leverages data collected from Cable Modems and CMTSs to perform deep and rich analysis of impairments in the plant. Because of this, the toolset provides support for the CMTS operations team.  However, the greatest benefactor of PNM is the Outside Plant maintenance team but they don’t want to pay for a tool that the CMTS guys use and vice versa. The other preventor of broader adoption of PNM is also understanding how to leverage the technology across all aspects of operations. For instance, an often overlooked application of PNM is the use of the birth certificate function in divisions like your network’s call center. Even before the customer service representative speaks to the customer, the customer's RF and DOCSIS services can be checked and validated which would lead to a much higher first-call resolution rate than what you are probably used to, and frankly, what your competitor is likely delivering. This application is just one of the many overlooked applications that can be unlocked once you leverage a true PNM expert. This technology is far too powerful to just be scratching the surface. 

Combine PNM Expert along with services like Targeted sweep and Saturation Assessments to begin to realize those cost savings that always seem elusive to cable operations .  Effectively reducing your call volume, removing wasted truck rolls and improving overall customer satisfaction.

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Cisco NSO Starter Package 

The Business Benefits of Automation and Orchestration White Paper

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Cisco Network Services Orchestrator Overview Video