Can you provide us with some background on Arcom Digital? When was the company founded and what are its main activities?
Arcom Digital designs and manufactures specialised range-to-distance test equipment and network monitoring tools for use by cable operators worldwide. We have core expertise in DSP, particularly some variants on correlation processing that have been leveraged into several innovative and useful products. Our team has been doing this for over 12 years, continuously building upon our core technology.
What are the company’s main product lines?
Right now our largest product line includes tools that detect QAM and OFDM signal leakage at LTE frequencies and helps prioritise the detected leaks for repair. With most cable networks operating co-channel at 700 or 800MHz LTE, detection at the proper band is a significant issue when it comes to both ingress and egress. We also make specialised radar-based test equipment that ranges the distance to the most troublesome impairments affecting the cable network: Common Path Distortion (CPD) and micro-reflections. On top of that, we have Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM) software that integrates our tools, making it extremely simple for the operator to identify network-affecting impairments for repair. This allows the technician to drastically improve network performance by concentrating only on the impairments that matter.
Who are your principal clients?
We work exclusively with cable operators to meet their changing needs. Our clients range from the very largest MSOs to local, single-system operators throughout the world.
What was the thinking behind the Network Traffic Compatible (NTC) Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR) that Arcom Digital has recently developed?
The cable industry has put a lot of effort into developing PNM tools that can remotely identify the sources of micro-reflections within the network. Unfortunately, the field tools available for troubleshooting have lagged behind the technology used to remotely detect impairments—and the legacy tools that did exist were inaccurate and required the technician to take down the network during troubleshooting, which is not a reasonable solution in 2017. To fill this void, we developed the NTC TDR as a PNM companion tool. It’s worked very well, precisely ranging the distance to the impairment without interrupting the subscribers’ experience.
What are its main attributes and why is it so different to other similar products on the market?
There is no other product like the NTC TDR, which can accurately operate on a live plant without service disruption. That’s what makes it so special. It displays the return loss at every distance across the span to the next amplifier, and it shows the precise distance to the fault. It’s unique and incredibly easy to use.
Do you have any other products currently under development and, if so, when can we expect to see them launched?
We’re currently concentrating on adding our CPD detection technology as software implementations of the CMTS, Remote-PHY, and even the cable modem. Hopefully we’ll be able to demonstrate this within the next year. The technology works, and it offers tremendous value.
Arcom Digital has produced a White Paper named An introduction to a New Micro-Reflection Location Technology. To obtain a free copy, please click here.