What is broadband network noise and why is it difficult to find?

Setting up an HFC broadband network requires much forethought and planning to ensure that it works optimally. There are many different issues that can affect an HFC network’s performance, related to capacity planning, physical layouts, and network components, not to mention proper process-control of maintenance and connections. Of the various issues that could affect a network, one of the most prevalent and challenging to manage is broadband network noise. Network noise can monopolize your technician’s time, preventing them from doing more “important” tasks like network hardening and PNM work.

What is broadband network noise

What Is Broadband Network Noise

In layman terms, broadband network noise refers to unwanted signals that impair or hinder the normal traffic of desired data signals within a broadband network. Network noise interferes with the normal traffic that is being sent in what is supposed to be a closed RF network. Network noise is a major cause of impaired network performance; as such, it is important for it to be quickly recognized and resolved. Noise can take the form of Common Path Distortion (CPD), Ingress, Impulse Noise and more. These noise sources can come from the main trunk line, customer homes, and everything in-between. Noise entering the “closed system” interferes with signal and thus data transfer rates.

Causes of Broadband Network Noise

Broadband network noises are challenging to resolve because they have several varied causes which take a lot of time as well as effort to ascertain. The causes of network noise can be broadly categorized into external and internal causes. External causes are factors or circumstances outside the broadband network that can cause network noise. In contrast, internal causes of network noise are as a result of issues inherent within the broadband network, or by improper connections or maintenance.

1) External Causes

2) Internal Causes

Effects Of Network Noise

Generally speaking, if network noise is not recognized and rectified in a timely manner, it can result in a degradation of overall network performance in the following ways:

Management Of Broadband Network Noise

Traditionally, the initial step in dealing with noise within a broadband network is to detect that it exists. This is not terribly difficult, with many tools and indicators available that show noise is present. When it comes to pinpointing the noise, it is historically a time-intensive affair, due to the number of factors that make it nearly impossible to localize. The affected area of the network should be thoroughly examined at various test points, area by area, to find the unwanted noise. Of course, sometimes there are multiple noise sources coming from different areas in the network, from customer devices to broken network components to external noise sources. The external environment should be examined as a cause of intermittent noise issues, as environmental extremes can make noise appear, and then disappear when the environment is more moderate. Even following the standard process, noise can be very elusive.

At Promptlink Communications, we know how detrimental noise can be to a broadband network and to your business. For this reason, we have developed our proprietary Network NoiseHawk solution designed to localize the source of the network noise. Our patent-pending software solution, easily accessible on a mobile or any access device, collects data from multiple sources which it then uses to accurately pinpoint the source of the network noise. Noise can usually be located within 1-2 areas, instead of the usual 6+ stops required today. For more information about our NoiseHawk solution, contact us.