Network Testing and Maintenance Level 1


The Network Testing and Maintenance Level I course focuses on the distribution network with a thorough look at maintaining the network including measurements, leakage, and troubleshooting. Additional topics include return path, network distortions, signal impairments, sweeping, proof of performance and responding to coax outages. Recommended practices for signal impairments and a proactive approach to maintaining the network will also be covered in the course.

Recommended Prerequisite:

  • Broadband Distribution Fundamentals
  • Maintenance Technology Level 1
  • Digital Fundamentals
  • Return Path

Target Audience:

  • Entry level cable personnel
  • Customer Service Representatives
  • Broadband Premises Installers
  • Maintenance Technicians
  • Outside Plant Personnel
  • Plant Technicians

Included in the Course:

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


Self-paced interactive Online Course: Learners start the SCTEISBE 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 17 hours completing course activities. SCTEISBE 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 SCTEISBE VirtuLearn course may be delivered as an onsite boot camp over 3 days.

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

Course Modules:

Module 01: Troubleshooting and Maintenance
Module 02: Proactive Network Maintenance
Module 03: Using Proactive Network Maintenance
Module 04: Signal Leakage
Module 05: Return Path Measurements
Module 06: Intermodulation Distortions
Module 07: Analog and Digital Signal Impairments
Module 08: Signal impairments recommended practices
Module 09: Plant Sweeping
Module 10: Proof of Performance Testing
Module 11: Responding to Coax Outages

Course Objectives:

Module 01: Troubleshooting and Maintenance

  • Describe the test equipment used during cable network maintenance and troubleshooting.
    • Signal Level Meter, Home Certification, Test TV, Toner and Probe, Signal Leakage
    • Cable Locator, Foreign Voltage Detector, Polarity Tester, Banjo Clip, Butt-Set
    • Wire ID / Mapper, Power over Ethernet Tester, Brown Meter, Telephone Software Test
    • Time Domain Reflectometer and Proactive Network Maintenance Testing.

Test an HFC network using a spectrum analyzer

Module 02: Proactive Network Maintenance

  • Describe why being proactive is required to improve customer satisfaction, maximize capacity, and lower cost of operations.
  • Describe how proactive network maintenance (PNM) works, including the basics of DOCSIS Pre-Equalization.
  • Describe the emerging full spectrum RF capture capability of DOCSIS cable modem chips and some example use-cases of full spectrum RF capture which can be used for identifying impairments on the cable RF network.
  • Describe next generation approaches to proactive network management, including emerging ways to detect HFC plant nonlinearities and the capabilities of DOCSIS 3.1 OFDM technology for proactive network maintenance.

Module 03: Using Proactive Network Maintenance

  • Describe how reflections from impedance mismatches on coax can be observed with TDR.
  • Describe how the location of a plant impairment is determined using Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM)
  • Describe how the In-Channel Frequency Response (ICFR) is calculated and typical examples of it.
  • Describe how other impairments can be identified using PNM.
  • Describe the basic RF spectrum analysis for cable, using our old friend the spectrum analyzer as an example.
  • Describe how RF spectrum analysis can now be accomplished with full RF spectrum capture and the FFT in modern DOCSIS chips using PNM technology.
  • Describe how to identify a variety of important plant impairments using full RF spectrum captures in PNM, and finally, we'll show you some.

Use PNM to troubleshoot DOCSIS health

Module 04: Signal Leakage

  • Describe the maintenance technician's role in signal leakage, including:
    • Signal Leakage Detection
    • Signal Leakage Reduction
  • Describe Signal Leakage Monitoring and the FCC's Role.
  • Demonstrate the use of leakage detection equipment.
  • Explain the importance of leakage reduction.
  • Recognize how digital leakage and ingress monitoring is conducted.

Module 5: Return Path Measurements

  • Describe the test equipment and procedures involved in return path measurements.

Troubleshoot Multiple Modem Outages

Module 6: Intermodulation Distortions

  • Describe the test equipment and procedures involved in return path measurements.
  • Define harmonic and intermodulation distortions.
  • Define Composite Second Order (CSO).
  • Define Composite Triple Beat (CTB).
  • Define Cross Modulation Distortion (XMOD).
  • Explain the differences between the types of intermodulation distortions.

Module 7: Analog and Digital Signal Impairments

  • Recognize common analog and digital signal impairments.

Module 8: Signal impairments recommended practices

  • Examine the impairments that exist in the outside hybrid-fiber coaxial cable plant.
  • Impairments: linear, non-linear, transient, internal and external to the plant.
  • Of note, there are impairments that exist in the DOCSIS environment today which are known and those that are anticipated to exist in the DOCSIS 3.1 environment that are anticipated or are not known.
  • The purpose of this module is to provide as much knowledge on impairments, their source, and the theory and the math behind their root cause so that the workforce is informed and knowledgeable on how to detect and resolve all impairments.

Measure gain and loss in the access network

Module 9: Plant Sweeping

  • Understand how sweeping is used on the access network to locate signal impairments.
  • Identify the five types of sweep systems used by cable operators.
  • Review the design considerations that apply to coaxial and hybrid fiber/coax networks.

Perform a forward sweep on multiple amplifiers and node

Module 10: Proof of Performance Testing

  • Describe the FCC Proof of Performance (POP) test requirements.

Module 11: Responding to Coax Outages

  • Understand the steps to take to respond to coax outages.

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