FinePoint Adds Speedometer to PC's Dash


Fine Point Technologies Inc. is pitching operators on a new tool meant to cut down on phone calls to cable-modem help desks.

The CyberTruck Connection Analyzer, part of its CyberTruck family of cable-modem provisioning software, is an application that sits on the subscriber's PC toolbar.

The analyzer calibrates the speed of the connection between the PC and the cable network. It also measures the speed of a connection between the PC and a random point on the Internet, said Fine Point president and CEO James O'Keefe.

Two graphics that look like speedometers display the information on the user's PC screen. The analyzer is designed to curb the number of trouble calls from subscribers complaining of slow connections or uneven service levels.

Operators can often field thousands of calls per month from modem users, many of whom complain about network slowdowns beyond the operator's control, O'Keefe said.

The analyzer allows modem subscribers to see that the problem is with the Internet itself and not with the portion of the network that the operator controls.

"The idea is to cut down on the number of calls coming in that say: 'My connection is slow,' " O'Keefe said.

The software also allows the modem user to self-diagnose potential problems.

"The software can recheck everything on the machine" and on connections throughout the cable network, O'Keefe said.

For instance, if the computer's Ethernet card settings have been altered, the analyzer can identify and fix the problem, he said. The software also can check other potential trouble spots throughout the network.

The analyzer itself takes up less than 3 megabytes of memory, O'Keefe said. Its cost is bundled with the cost of FinePoint's CyberTruck software, which runs into the pennies per user, he said.

Not only can the analyzer potentially reduce trouble calls, but it could even eliminate some more costly truck rolls, O'Keefe said.