Sometimes the little things make a huge difference.
In the case of Alcatel-Lucent’s (News - Alert) new fiber network monitoring offering, its embedded optical time domain reflectometry (OTDR) solution, the device both makes a huge difference and literally is tiny.
A network’s fiber optic cable is one of its most valuable resources, yet there are numerous opportunities for disruption. Accidental cuts, crushed fiber, contact misalignments, dirty contacts, damaged splitters, rogue ONTs, disconnected fibers, malfunctioning transceivers, microbends… There is plenty of room for fiber optic malfunctions on passive optimal networks (PON), as noted in a recent Alcatel-Lucent video.
The new embedded OTDR solution, developed by Bell Labs (News - Alert), is a tiny device that plugs into a network’s existing fiber access nodes and continuously monitors cuts and disconnects from the serving office to the second splitter in the transport network, according to an article last week by TMCnet’s Peter Bernstein. It then integrates Motive Network Analyzer, Alcatel-Lucent’s remote management solution for broadband access optical terminal multiplex (OTM) networks.
The embedded OTDR solution achieves its fiber monitoring by using continuous pulsing with measurements of the corresponding reflections, giving a comprehensive and continuous view of the PON networks, according to the company in a paper entitled, Troubleshooting at the Speed of Light.
By continuously monitoring the PON networks, the solution is proactive and also helps localize fiber problems quickly and validates fiber connections during network roll-out—which can be particularly useful when working with third-party contractors.
“Technologies such as Alcatel-Lucent’s Embedded OTDR solution are fundamental tools that give service providers a better understanding of what is happening in their fiber access networks,” noted Erik M. Keith in a statement from Alcatel-Lucent, principal analyst for fixed access infrastructure at Current Analysis (News - Alert). “Knowing where a problem occurs allows service providers to send technicians to the right place, speed up problem resolution, and provide customers with a better service experience. As such, this solution is a key enabler for protecting service providers’ fiber assets and revenues.”
And embedding OTDR at the node level is just the start, according to the director of wireline networks at Alcatel-Lucent, Stefaan Vanhastel. “While the current solution is to embed OTDR into access nodes in the future,” he told TMCnet last week, “the goal is to add to every transceiver to watch every line.”
The value proposition of the new embedded OTDR solution has three components, according to Vanhastel.
First, it protects revenue by keeping services flowing predictably and assuring smooth service rollouts. This reduces customer churn.
Second, it is a proactive solution that avoids or reduces service failure through early detection and network validation.
The solution also reduces capital expenses and operating expenses by requiring fewer truck rolls, and by eliminating the purchase and maintenance of external OTDR equipment and training.
Sometimes the little things can make a huge difference.
Edited by Peter Bernstein