As optical networks have started to spread from their use in trunk networks, to the latest technologies, for example FTTx and G-PON, new requirements for testing have evolved. Traditionally handheld Optical Time Domain Reflectometers (OTDR) have been used for Point to Point testing between nodes and exchanges but with the rollout of FTTx networks new methods of testing have had to be implemented. Various implementations of FTTC, FTTB and FTTH are currently being installed worldwide and verification and restoration of the network has become a major issue.
When the customer reports a problem, it is usual practice to dispatch an engineer equipped with an OTDR to the premises. The Engineer tests the fibre back to the exchange, to find any fault conditions. It is not unusual for the engineer to find there is no problem with the fibre but that the problem is with the subscribers’ equipment. Truck rolls and wasted manpower results in an increase in Operating Expendeture (OPeX)
A new method of Central Office (CO) testing has evolved to reduce the OpEx of maintaining a FTTx Network. This testing needs to be able to provide accurate information for every customer line. An OTDR is required, however normal OTDRs cannot provide information past the GPON splitters. UTEL have created a fibre test system consisting of an OTDR designed specifically for CO based testing and an Optical Test Access Switch. The UTEL Fibre Test System can characterise the entire network from the CO through GPON Splitters to the customer termination. Infact the equipment can be used to keep comprehensive records on the entire network.
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