Remote Fiber Test Systems – Increasing Optical Network Availability

Posted by Kevin Miller on Tue, Aug 14, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

With most of the world now relying on fiber optic systems for communication, a key component to ensuring a high level of performance from operators is network monitoring.  When we think of network monitoring, much of the focus is usually on the equipment itself, as well as the management of all the data flowing through the system.  As a result, an area often overlooked when deploying and monitoring a network is the actual fiber optic cable, through which all the data is sent from one location to another.

While network operators aim to protect fiber optic cables as best they can, it is a relatively common occurrence to hear via the local news or industry reports that a fiber optic cable was accidentally cut and some type of outage immediately followed.  A recent article on by Eric Bright serves as a great example in highlighting some recent events in Europe and Africa along these lines.  This is especially true in the developing countries, where there may not yet be the same level of protection or advanced routing options readily available.

To deal with these types of issues in the past, most operators would need to physically check the line using an OTDR to determine the location and then travel to that specific point to service the issue.  With every second of downtime counting negatively towards the operator in several ways, this process often took up valuable time before a resolution could be completed.

Fortunately, Remote Fiber Test Systems (RFTS) are available to assist operators in servicing these fiber-related issues in the most efficient manner.  By installing a remote fiber test system, an operator is able to monitor fibers around-the-clock from anywhere and receive immediate alerts of breaks, degraded connections, and even malicious intrusion attempts.  In addition to the quick notification, most fiber test systems will provide a near-exact location of the issue, so the service team will not have to waste as much time determining where to go.  The positive end result is increased network availability via another layer of network monitoring.

When looking into deploying a remote fiber test system, there are several different alternatives available in the market that might be suitable for an operator’s requirements.  While some have utilized solutions based on traditional OTDR technology, due to the extremely high price tag and ongoing budgetary pressure, many are finding new systems based on alternative technology to be sufficient for meeting their fiber monitoring goals.  Since all networks are unique, it is important to obtain information on a number of different systems to find the solution that best fits all the objectives of the operator.

Remote Fiber test System   Click to View
Remote Fiber Test System (RFTS) 


Topics: fiber monitoring