High-performance OTDR module for remote fibre test systems

Created November 29, 2016
Technologies and Products

Today’s regulatory regime has made it more important than ever for telecom carriers to proactively monitor and maintain their fibre networks. In particular, the huge penalties specified in service level agreements and quality of service commitments give carriers financial incentives to invest in maintaining fibre networks.

Now, Yokogawa Europe has launched a high-performance optical time-domain reflectometer module – the AQ7277B – which is designed for use with remote fibre-test systems (RFTS). An RFTS is designed to improve the efficiency of operation and maintenance of fibre lines at a cable termination station by constantly monitoring individual fibres. The system indicates a failure location on an “electronic map” and automatically alerts maintenance staff.

It can identify failures such as increased loss, fibre breaks and water ingress and it facilitates restorative maintenance. The ability to perform automatic testing of multiple fibres at the same time cuts both installation time and costs.

“Detecting fibre degradation before failure while reducing mean time to repair is key to success,” said Terry Marrinan, VP Europe & SE Asia, Yokogawa Test & Measurement. “The time saved by using an RFTS to locate and isolate a fibre break can pay for itself by yielding a full return on investment and achieving a higher level of customer satisfaction through improved quality of service.”

The AQ7277B OTDR module is based on Yokogawa’s established AQ7280 OTDR, with its superior optical performance in terms of short “dead zone” (0.6 m) and high dynamic range (up to 50 dB). Moreover, its size is reduced by 60% compared to its predecessor, which improves its integration into the RFTS. Dimensions are 230 × 50 × 140mm and it weighs approximately 1kg.

There are two models in the AQ7277B family, both equipped with an Ethernet (10BASE-T/100BASE-TX) interface as standard. The AQ7277B-B01 takes measurements at 1650 nm, a wavelength, which does not affect the communication wavelengths of 1310/1490/1550 nm.

It is equipped with a built-in cutoff filter to isolate it from wavelengths lower than 1650 nm, and so can perform accurate measurements on live lines. This model is also optimised for testing passive optical networks (PON), and can measure through the high-port-count splitters used in modern PON systems.

The AQ7277B-B02 is designed for monitoring long-distance optical fibres – greater than 200 km in real-life environmental conditions – being capable of a 50 dB dynamic range. It operates at a wavelength of 1550 nm.

Link: High-performance OTDR module for remote fibre test systems


This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.