Openreach implements Viavi automated testing across UK Full Fibre broadband network

Feb. 23, 2022
Now in its fourth generation of technology, Viavi smart SFP technology supports 1G and 10G line rates across a variety of physical standards.

Openreach and Viavi Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAV) this month announced a collaborative effort to automate testing the quality and speed of the Openreach “Full Fibre” broadband network in the UK using Fusion, Viavi's virtual performance monitoring system.

Now in its fourth generation of technology, Viavi smart SFP technology supports 1G and 10G line rates across a variety of physical standards.

Trevor Linney, Network Technology Director at Openreach, commented, “As the country’s largest digital infrastructure provider, we recognise that service and broadband reliability has become more integral to everyday life especially when millions of people switched to working and schooling from home. Last year, we saw our broadband usage more than double with 50,000 Petabytes (PB) of data being consumed across the country.”

According to the company, Viavi Fusion will effectively deliver an on-demand network “speedometer”, showing near real-time views of the speeds that end users can achieve.

Linney continued: “We’re also seeing record numbers of people signing up to our ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband with over 1.5 million customers taking up the service to-date. It’s therefore crucial that we continue to meet our already strong service performance by identifying and preventing faults before customers report them. The deployment of Viavi’s automated testing solution is one part of the overarching technical innovative solutions we’ve adapted to help determine potential issues we detect on our network in near real-time or when a request comes through from our CP customers.”

The collaborators said the new partnership marks the first time that proactive network testing of end user speeds has been deployed in fiber access networks across the UK independent of the customer’s internet connection.

The Viavi Fusion platform incorporates both hardware and software, which will be used to rapidly isolate and troubleshoot faults on the network. Diagnostics will be automated for any issues as they’re raised by Openreach’s Communications Provider (CPs) customers.

In addition, customer service will be enhanced as contact center procedures will be automated, equipping operators with near real-time test results for rapid pass/fail interpretation. This allows further troubleshooting to be focused on the root cause, whether inside the Openreach network, or back with the CPs.

A key element of the Fusion system is its smart small form-factor pluggable (SFP) capability, enabling micro-probes plugged into thousands of nodes across the country. These probes enable automated throughput testing from all CPs ingress points to end-user premises, for millions of consumers.

Viavi has a longstanding relationship with Openreach and in March 2021, Openreach confirmed that it was using the Viavi Optical Network Monitoring System (ONMSi) for remote testing of its network. Openreach is on track to reach 25 million premises by December 2026 with current footprint of 6.5 million homes and businesses, including 2 million in rural areas across the UK.

Daniel Black, Director, UK & Nordics at Viavi, concluded, “Openreach plays such a foundational role in the UK’s digital economy that the improvements they make have a widespread, positive impact across the whole of the UK. The automation of testing across its network represents one such improvement. It will enable Openreach to be faster and more efficient with fault isolation, to the benefit of CPs, businesses and consumers. And they’ll be able to reduce the number of truck rolls and site visits they perform, as they’ll have access to better intelligence remotely. We’re proud to play our part in this network evolution and we appreciate our positive, ongoing relationship with Openreach.”

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