Field Test

Hitron Intros Handheld Spectrum Analyzer

Hitron Technologies Americas has introduced a handheld spectrum analysis meter for cable network installers and technicians.

Hitron's main line of business is customer premise equipment. In five short years it has grown from being an afterthought on the list of CPE also-rans to being the third largest CPE vendor in the DOCSIS market.

It is tempting to say the new meter marks the company's entrance into the test and measurement (T&M) market, given that it is the company's first product that can be used in the lab or in the field. But in several ways, Hitron has been doing T&M for a while now.

Hitron has been selling a combination cable modem and spectrum analyzer that cable operators can install at almost any point in their networks to perform spectrum analysis. The CMS-02 module includes two tuner chips, one for RF input signals in the 88 to 1002 MHz range, the other to handle spectrum analysis of the full cable spectrum from 6 MHz to 1 GHz.

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In recent weeks, the company has struck two alliances to help support cable proactive network maintenance (PNM), one with Akleza, the other with NimbleThis. Both rely on use of the CMS-02. PNM is a capability inherent in the most recent iterations of DOCSIS; with the latest versions of the technology cable modems can act as network probes that can help not only identify specific network impairments, but also locate them with extraordinary geographic precision.

At the beginning of the month, the company announced a partnership with Adaptive Spectrum & Signal Alignment Inc. (Assia) to create a means of enabling dynamic self-healing of residential WiFi networks, based in part on Assia's machine learning capabilities.

So, although there are vanishingly few CPE vendors getting into the T&M business, here's Hitron with a handheld spectrum analyzer.

Hitron's CGN-DP2 includes an 802.11n 2x2 2.4 GHz radio. Lacking a screen to minimize cost, it transmits network metering information to the technician’s iOS or Android device. Since it is app-based, users can define test plans of different scenarios that the plant or install techs will require through the available SDK.

The meter’s feature set includes:

  • Spectrum analysis
  • QAM constellation and lever monitoring
  • Upstream equalization analysis
  • BER and MER metrics
  • Initialization and provisioning status
  • Ping and trace route utilities

"Nobody knows DOCSIS better than we do," Hitron Americas CTO Greg Fisher, boasted to Light Reading. "Operators want us to provide these tools." Furthermore, Hitron can sell the testers cheaper than traditional T&M companies, by amortizing the cost across the cost of the CPE it sells, he explained.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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