AFL developing new OTDR technology

AFL’s newly-patented approach is the first to combine a PON power meter with a live/dark fiber OTDR on a single test port.

AFL has been awarded a patent for “Optical Time Domain Reflectometer,” US Patent 8,411,259. The new patent covers Optical Time Domain Reflectometers (OTDRs) where multiple wavelength-specific test signal generators and detector channels are combined on a single OTDR test port. According to the company, this approach enables users to determine if a fiber is live or dark, to measure the power level of any signals present on the fiber and to apply test signals (including non-interfering signals) on dark and live fibers, all without the need for swapping test ports or test equipment.

As further explained by the company, existing OTDRs typically have a number of test ports. One port, for example, may be the source of dark (out-of-service) test signals while another may be the source of live (in-service) test signals. Because all test signals are not present on one port, users are required to swap the fiber under test from one port to the other to complete testing. In addition, OTDRs may include PON power meter ports for measuring the signals present on a fiber.

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AFL says its newly-patented approach is the first to combine a PON power meter with a live/dark fiber OTDR on a single test port. The company's Noyes OFL280 and FLX380 FlexTester OTDRs with ServiceSafe leverage the new technology to automatically detect live fibers, measure downstream signal levels, and restrict tests signals to only those wavelengths not present on the fiber.

“Our focus is to provide innovative, easy-to-use solutions and services to make our customers successful,” comments Seán Adam, general manager of AFL’s Noyes Test and Inspection business unit. “This unique OTDR architecture reduces the complexity and time it takes to test a PON network, increasing our customers’ efficiency and reducing their test costs.”

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