Monday, October 15, 2012

IPTV Field Service Requires a Combination of Electronics and Information Technology Skills

Field service technicians for IPTV require a mixture of electronics and information technology skills. The customer and IPTV service provider are interested in improving a quality of experience (QoE) that includes frozen screens, pixilation, and audio synchronizations. Technicians must deal with a mixture of hard to discover soft challenges (not full failures) that can be caused by poorly designed systems, incompatible devices, constantly changing software revisions and end-user equipment. To be an effective IPTV technician, it is almost essential to understand both electronics (physical access) and information technology (data networks and software services).

Technicians must understand the basics of access systems. The connection from the IPTV service provider can utilize several access types, including DSL, optical, RF (cable TV), wired data (Ethernet WAN) and wireless. The connection can be influenced by line conditions, such as the quality of the cable or connectors used, or back-end interconnections, such as access network congestion. The signal levels, such as RF or optical power, and the line condition (spectral profile) can be influential on the reliability of a connection.

Technicians must also understand home networks, which may be a mixture of data cable (Ethernet), powerline (HomePlug), coax (MoCA), wireless (802.11) and fiber (plastic LED fiber). The devices that customers connect to these networks can dramatically influence performance levels. Technicians need to understand how these types of home networks operate, and adapt to changing conditions. For example, the throughput of data connections over powerlines can be influenced by electrical noise from motors.

Technicians must also contend with new devices, technologies and services, such as Smart TVs, which utilize applications much like smart phones. These TVs may be connected to other devices, such as gaming consoles, and technicians must have the ability to troubleshoot these smart accessories. Another example is the connection of microphones to STBs for Karaoke, which is popular in China.

An Effective IPTV Technician Understands both Electronics and Information Technology

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