Gold TS Reference (developed by Bridge Technologies) is a new technology that makes monitoring for digital services much quicker to set up, and fault-tracking much faster, more accurate and secure. Developed exclusively by Bridge Technologies, Gold TS Reference includes all the checks specified in the ETR290 standard, but goes much further to include testing for critical conditions missed by ETR290. Conditions like failures of the conditional access system, errors in the program guide, and unintended language changes seriously affect subscribers, but standard monitoring systems based only on ETR290 do not raise any alert for these conditions. Services protected by Gold TS Reference catch these ‘ETR290-legal’ errors and provide a much more valuable real-world quality assurance for operators of digital media services.
Two of the most time-consuming and inefficient areas in media monitoring are the calibration of the monitoring system, and fault-tracking. These two areas of inefficiency can have a cumulative impact on performance that may be critical for the profitability and market acceptance of the provider’s service. Calibration is normally a long-winded process requiring a lot of operator input and expertise, and very few people in the industry fully understand all the intricacies of ETR290. ETR290 calibration involves the setting of hundreds of detailed criteria and alarm parameters for them, and it has to be repeated for each stream. As a result, operators generally don’t have the time or expert knowledge to set the correct values, and subsequently the monitoring they can achieve is less accurate and efficient than it should be, with errors going undetected, and many false positive alarms adding to the ‘chaff’ produced by the monitoring system. This tends to lower the trust in the information provided by the system, and makes it difficult to detect and resolve genuine service-affecting errors.
When faults arise, efficient analysis and diagnosis is crucial to a quick resolution of the problem and the maintenance of good service levels. But in systems available until now, fault-tracking has required technical staff to wade through a large volume of analysis data, searching for the cause of the error. Resolving errors is made even harder when the test criteria set during calibration were imprecise and incomplete.
Gold TS Reference does not replace ETR290-based testing – it encompasses all the ETR290 analysis technology developed to date by Bridge Technologies, but it both simplifies the setup enormously and provides a much more accurate and comprehensive monitoring safety-net which catches those error condition that fall through the ETR290 cracks. The automatic fault tracking provided with Gold TS Reference is based not only on the explicit ETR290 checks but also on those otherwise ‘ETR290 legal’ error conditions which the operator must remedy to maintain good service levels. The stream is continually analysed and compared with the reference. Any deviation from the reference is instantly flagged for attention, and rapid fault-identification is made easy for the user by a clear presentation error condition, with the deviation from the reference values automatically highlighted, side by side with the correct values in the reference. The clarity of the display helps the operator focus instantly on the cause of the error.
The time-to-resolve errors using this reference-comparison analysis of the stream is greatly accelerated – typically by a factor of 10-15. In operational terms, this means that maintenance staff can monitor effectively larger numbers of streams, because they spend less time setting up the calibration, and less time tracing and resolving errors.