Return Path

Description:
The Return Path course focuses on design, set-up and troubleshooting of the reverse system in cable access networks. Topics discussed include signaling and transmission, return path components, differences between the downstream and upstream, troubleshooting, balancing the return path, long loop automatic level control (ALC), return path signaling and return path optimization.

Prerequisite:

  • SCTE·ISBE Broadband Premises Installation and Services
  • SCTE·ISBE Digital Fundamentals

Target Audience:

  • Broadband Premises Installers
  • Broadband Premises Technicians
  • Maintenance Technicians
  • Outside Plant Personnel
  • Headend / Hub Technicians

Included in the Course:

  • Engaging and Interactive LightningMod™ to prepare learner for training 
  • In-depth interactive eBook modules 
  • CORTEX™ mobile app to access eBook modules in the field 
  • Apply eBook knowledge with real life experiences in a simulated environment 
    • 2 NetworkSims™ included
  • Module assessments
  • Course final exam
  • Fun VirtuGame™ to improve absorption and retention of competencies 
  • SCTE·ISBE course completion certificate
  • 2 recertification units (RUs) towards SCTE·ISBE certification renewal

Requirements for Successful Course Completion:

  • Module quizzes 70% or higher
  • Course final test 70% or higher

You may take the course final test up to 3 times.

Format:

Self-paced interactive Online Course: Learners start the SCTE·ISBE VirtuLearn™ course at any time, study at their own pace, and have access to dynamic online content after they register. On average, learners will spend approximately 16 hours completing course activities. SCTE·ISBE provides access to the course for 3 years from date of purchase.

System Requirements: A high speed Internet (HSI) connection, Internet browser with HTML 5 support. For tablet or smartphone access, HTML 5 may be used for online eBook content.

Instructor-Led Onsite Boot Camp Course: The SCTE·ISBE VirtuLearn™ course may be delivered as an onsite boot camp over 2 days.

Course access information will be emailed when the course is purchased.

Course Modules:

Module 01: Signaling and Transmission in Cable Networks
Module 02: Introduction to the Return Path in the HFC Network
Module 03: Return Path Components
Module 04: Differences Between the Downstream and Upstream
Module 05: Return Path Troubleshooting
Module 06: Balancing the Return Path
Module 07: Long Loop ALC
Module 08: Return Path Signaling
Module 09: Optical Return Path
Module 10: Return Path Optimization
Module 11: Return Path Measurements

Course Objectives:

Module 01: Signaling and Transmission in Cable Networks

  • Analog and digital signals:
    • Explain the basics of analog signals and why the NTSC signal was developed
    • Explain the basics of digital signals and how ATSC digital signals are used in cable telecommunications networks
  • Cabling the network:
    • Identify the components and characteristics of coaxial cable
    • Identify the components and characteristics of optical fiber
    • Identify the components and characteristics of unshielded twisted pair (UTP)
    • Given signal input levels, fiber or cable attenuation, and insertion losses of connectors, splitters, and couplers - be able to calculate transmission loss and expected signal levels at the line endpoint or the device input
    • Identify and describe the characteristics of the physical transmission media used within the drop system and in the customer premises

Module 02: Introduction to the Return Path in the HFC Access Network

  • Describe the history of two-way communication in HFC access networks
  • List the two-way band plans used in HFC access networks
  • Describe the major differences between the downstream and the upstream bandwidth
  • List the main steps in preparing a network for two-way operation

Module 03: Return Path Components

  • Describe the function and use of diplex filters
  • Identify the various parts of a two-way amplifier
  • State the criteria for unity gain in both the return and forward paths
  • List several of the other components that are used in two-way HFC access networks

Module 04: Differences Between the Downstream and Upstream

  • Describe the two-way frequency band plans
  • Explain the requirement for a wide range of upstream transmit levels
  • Describe the function of the long loop ALC
  • List upstream modulation types
  • Describe noise funneling
  • Relate the importance of upstream optical transmitter dynamic range

Module 05: Return Path Troubleshooting

  • List sources of upstream issues
  • List several monitoring tools
  • Describe how leakage can be a proxy for ingress
  • List issues that can be identified by sweep measurements
  • Describe the divide and conquer technique

     
     Troubleshoot service outages using video, voice and data diagnostics

Module 06: Balancing the Return Path

  • Understand the use of test points for signal injection
  • Describe unity gain in the upstream
  • Describe the use of sweep setups and test tones
  • List the steps in upstream balance and alignment

     
     Perform upstream balance and sweep on an HFC network

Module 07: Long Loop ALC

  • Describe the history of upstream services
  • Explain the function of the long loop ALC
  • Describe how levels change before long loop activation
  • Describe how levels change after long loop activation

Module 08: Return Path Signaling

  • List multiplexing techniques
  • List multiple access techniques
  • Describe the requirement for RF modulation
  • List several types of RF modulation
  • Describe modulation used for digital data in HFC networks
  • List several upstream modulation bandwidths and data rates

Module 09: Optical Return Path

  • Describe a simple optical link
  • Understand wavelength and frequency
  • List the parts of optical fiber
  • Describe the function of a semiconductor laser
  • Describe the function of a photodiode
  • Describe analog intensity modulation
  • List the cause of optical clipping
  • List the advantages and disadvantages of digital return
  • Describe the function of a remote PHY architecture

Module 10: Return Path Optimization

  • List impairments that affect the upstream
  • Explain the usefulness of return sweeps
  • Describe various types of ingress
  • List types of linear distortion
  • Describe common path distortion

Module 11: Return Path Measurements

  • Describe the test equipment used in return path measurements
  • Describe procedures involved in return path measurements of stationary and transient impairments
  • Describe troubleshooting best practices

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