The Comcast network spans hundreds of thousands of miles into neighborhoods and businesses across the country. Keeping all of the HFC that runs from our facilities to our customers' homes in top working condition is a 24x7 job.

We've made significant investments in our network over the last several years. This includes engineers in more than a dozen operations centers who proactively monitor network and service performance around the clock. For them, test equipment is a must for isolating issues and fixing them — preferably before they impact our customers.

For years the field engineering community, myself included, wished there was a way to include the installed base of equipment in customers' homes — things like set-top boxes and modems — as an end-of-line performance checkpoint back into our network. With the right tools, these devices can provide feedback about the network and sense potential line issues, even when a customer's services in the home are working properly.

There are off-the shelf tools that we could have used. In fact we did use them...that is until engineers with our Operations Support System (OSS) team worked to develop what we call the "Network Scout." The Scout tool uses a combination of complex mathematics and end-of-line performance checkpoints (the more than 40 million modems and set-top boxes deployed in customers' homes) to identify locations of signal impairments potentially causing video or audio quality issues for customers.

Scout uses this unique perspective to proactively analyze millions of data points every day. When a disruption is detected, Scout finds it and helps us dispatch a technician to the exact location. This greatly speeds up service restoration, often before it impacts customers. And if the problem is back in our network and not with the equipment in the home, we can fix it without the customer needing to be home for an unnecessary service appointment.

The bottom line is this: we're extremely proud of our development of the Scout tool. Our working passion is to enhance and improve the experiences for tens of millions of customers, every day. With Scout, that mission just got a whole lot smarter.