UTEL Releases New FTTH Fault Detection Technology

  • FTTH
  • Test Equipment
  • Testing
  • UTEL
AMSTERDAM - British research and development firm UTEL launched a new technology called Fast Light, which will enable service providers to reduce fiber faulting time from hours to minutes. Fast Light is a complete solution for automating the fiber repair process and carrying out protection switching of optical line terminal (OLT) ports. Currently, skilled technicians drive around with hand-held testing devices, trying to locate fiber breaks. With Fast Light, according to UTEL, a call center operative can do the same job in about a minute.

Dramatically Shifts the Business Case for FTTH
“Fast Light will dramatically shift the business case for FTTH – the impact it will have is quite mind-boggling. Before we achieved this, everyone thought that it was impossible. Not only did we develop an OTDR [optical time-domain reflectometer] that could see through 128-to-1 splitters but also a truly low-cost optical test access switch, which changes the business case for this technology from ‘difficult’ to a no-brainer,” says Frank Kaufhold, managing director of UTEL, an R&D firm with expertise in telecommunications systems, copper test access, optical fiber test access, test head, OTDRs and network design.

A single fiber failure in a passive optical network can result in as many as 64 customers losing TV or internet access. Fast Light allows service providers to remotely identify all customers potentially affected by a fault within minutes and sometimes before a single call is made to the customer contact center. This allows the operator to meet restoration expectations and dramatically reduce opex.

Kaufhold adds, “Other solutions that currently try to solve the same problem rely on the service providers' fitting a wavelength-dependent mirror in front of every customer’s ONT. This adds an additional 20 euros cost for each customer connection, so a million customers equals 20 million euros of extra expenditure. There is no wonder the business case has bombed for these solutions,” he added.

Fast Light can detect faults before customers are even aware of them by setting an automated OTDR test of the fiber. Alternatively the first customer can raise the alarm. Either way, Fast Light can compare each of the traces with a previous good version stored on file. This enables the detection of every customer experiencing problems instantly and remotely. Fast Light can also automatically reconnect the fiber to a spare OLT port in the event of an OLT port failure.


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