The Need for Fiber Monitoring

Optical cabling supports the communication infrastructure of our connected planet. Inherently fragile by nature, this same optical cable is susceptible to water ingress, misplaced construction digs, rodent infestations, security intrusions, and many other potential hazards. Maintaining optimal fiber condition and performance requires advanced fiber monitoring practices to identify and react to problems quickly.

New technology and network expansion continue to push the boundaries of fiber optic monitoring capabilities. Submarine cables are extremely long fiber optic runs laid in trenches on the ocean floor, installed by specialized ships at a rate of 200 kilometers or more per day. While the value of these optical fiber runs is obvious, the expense of installing and maintaining them can be considerable. When problems occur, divers or robotic vessels may be required to investigate and repair defects. Robust fiber monitoring can lead to earlier detection and precise locating capability, thereby reducing reaction and repair times.

Fiber optics continue to usurp the territory once dominated by conventional coaxial cabling and telephone wires. Fiber to the home (FTTH) is now becoming more common, with direct fiber optic runs to individual homes enabling higher bandwidth and improved data integrity for users. Extending the reach of fiber optics is inevitable, so fiber optic monitoring systems must now be capable of accurately detecting fiber faults from the source all the way to the subscriber.

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