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Is It Time to Review the Optical Fiber Setup in Your Test Lab?

Posted by Kevin Miller on Fri, Oct 25, 2019 @ 09:10 AM

As we enter the last quarter of the year, businesses are starting to or continuing to plan and budget for the upcoming year.  This may mean new investments, new equipment and other upgrades in technology or infrastructure to support and position the company to be competitive and successful in the upcoming year.  

For the fiber optic test lab, much like other departments, this is a good time to not only assemble the budget and needs for the upcoming year but to take some time and review and assess the current configuration of the optical fibers in your laboratory with an eye toward future testing.  Is the laboratory, as configured today, capable of supporting the business’ needs in the upcoming year?  Are upgrades, additions, or changes needed relating to the valuable fiber you rely on for testing? 

When reviewing the optical fiber lab setup, some areas to strongly consider include the following:

  • Review of optical fiber types.  Does the lab currently have the appropriate mix of various fiber types (older/newer, single mode, multimode, specialty) to support both current and future testing needs?  Are newer fibers available in the market that may be of interest? In addition to fiber being available in the traditional bare, simplex format, did you know that spooled 12-fiber ribbon is now available for simulating short data center cabling links for 100G and 400G testing applications?

  • Review of setup efficiency. Many labs face a daunting challenge of maintaining a comprehensive test environment in a very limited amount of space.  Are the spools of fiber taking up too much space in the lab? Have you reviewed new enclosure and setup approaches that can package greater densities of fiber in a more space-efficient manner?  Are the various fiber types and lengths that you have easily identified and is the overall arrangement of the spools such that it is easy to use?

  • Future-Proofing While it is always difficult to predict future needs, has an adequate amount of time been spent internally planning for future needs or upcoming projects based on your company's overall strategic vision and commitments to customers?

At M2 Optics, we regularly find ourselves speaking with engineers that are attempting to meet a corporate test requirement on a very short time window and/or with limited resources.  Despite optical fiber being an absolute necessity to simulate a network or latency, it is often one of the last items planned for on the list of equipment. However, we can share from experience that when engineers in the lab periodically review and plan their fiber requirements ahead of time,  they are better positioned to meet their testing goals - not to mention eliminating some stress associated with last-minute fiber acquisitions!

As you begin your budgeting and planning for the upcoming year, contact M2 Optics to help assess the optical fiber setup in your current lab environment.   Whether you have questions about specific fiber types, better ways to manage existing spools on-site, or have upcoming requirements and want to customize a new setup, our team is available to help. 

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Topics: optical fibers, test lab, fiber network simulation