EXFO Inc. launched Optical Xplorer, a singlemode test instrument that the company calls the first optical multimeter, on June 4. “Optical Xplorer makes fiber testing simple for all frontline technicians, beginner or expert, radically speeding up the process while empowering them to do more on-site,” EXFO said when introducing the product simultaneously at ANGA COM and Fiber Connect on June 4. “The device verifies optical links in seconds, and if faults are suspected, it finds an identifies them automatically.” Optical Xplorer displays fiber length, loss, and optical return loss in less than 3 seconds, EXFO said, with a single-ended test process.
Stephen Bull, EXFO’s vice president of research and development, commented, “Powered by multiple patent-pending technologies, Optical Xplorer marks a turning point in the world of fiber testing.”
The company added, “Optical Xplorer is more than an improvement on existing test tools; it takes a completely new approach to fiber installation, turnup and repair. This highly intuitive job helper boosts frontline technician efficiency, ensures better network quality, and minimizes delays and costs associated with escalating problems to expert technicians.”
EXFO points to the following three specific technological innovations that Optical Xplorer offers.
- Reduces total cost of ownership (TCO) through lifetime calibration and field-replaceable connectors—Hidden costs throughout a product’s life make up a massive, yet sometimes overlooked, part of TCO. Optical Xplorer’s lifetime calibration and patented Click-Out optical connector cut costly downtime and logistics associated with factory-based updates, maintenance and repairs.
- Saves time by exploring only faulty links—The Fault Xplorer feature self-launches during the optical link verification process, automatically exploring only those links suspected as faulty, eliminating doubts while saving testing time.
- Validates link quality in seconds, assigning a 1- to 5-star rating—With the built-in EXFO Advisor feature, technicians get the benefit of EXFO’s fiber expertise and sophisticated algorithms at the push of a button, assigning ratings to links based on industry best practices.
Optical Xplorer is available in Basic and PRO versions. The Pro versions include the Link Mapper and Click-Out optical connector capabilities. Both Basic and PRO versions are available in Installation and Maintenance models. The Installation model tests at 1310 and 1550 nm; the Maintenance models test at filtered 1650 nm.
Stephane Chabot, EXFO’s vice president for test and measurement, observed, “Too often, frontline technicians are equipped with test tools that are a compromise between cost, complexity and functionality. With our customers’ challenges in mind, we developed a revolutionary new fiber testing solution that’s easy to use—tailor-made for frontline field technicians, no matter their level of expertise. Optical Xplorer will help operators and contractors accelerate ROI, improve first-time-right metrics and increase customer satisfaction by equipping their technicians with a purpose-built tool and leaner methods of procedure.”
Describing the technical and business trends that gave rise to Optical Xplorer’s development, EXFO explained, “Telecom operators are under significant pressure to deploy more high-quality fiber-optic networks faster and at a lower cost to meet skyrocketing demand for bandwidth and prepare for next-generation technologies like 5G. The complexity of testing methods of procedure, the necessity to outsource and the shortage in skilled frontline technicians make it difficult for both operators and contractors to attain a good return on investment while ensuring networks are deployed right the first time.”