Fiber Optic Network Testing without a Standalone OTDR
Other than portable/micro OTDR (Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer) equipment with a trained operator, there are only two economical and flexible approaches to monitoring optical fiber cable plants for faults:
- Remote Fiber Test Systems (RFTS)
- iSFC® – SFP Transceivers with Micro-OTDR
RFTS (Remote Fiber Test Systems)
The relatively high cost of RFTS equipment is ameliorated by sharing it across a large number of optical fiber cable Links. However, since you cannot know in advance where a fault might occur, there is a Detection Time delay, as the RFTS is brought to bear upon the faulty Link. This Detection Time translates into unavoidable costs, no matter how efficient the RFTS is after detecting, locating and reporting the fault.
To materially improve the reliability of a network, fault detection must be fast, distributed and pervasive. The detection of a fault needs to be fast so that the operation of the network, particularly an Ethernet-based one, is minimally impacted. A fault should be detected, located and reported to the Host Switch within a fraction of a second. That is, Detection Time should be eliminated. Where is the most logical place to put this performance monitoring? It is in the optical transceivers, which by necessity, must reside at either side of every optical link in the network. With performance monitoring distributed throughout the network, essentially at both ends of every optical link, the Communications Service Provider (CSP) gains the highest probability of quickly detecting optical fiber faults in any portion of the network. This approach is made possible by iSFC® transceiver technology, with built-in OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer) abilities.