Monday, May 16, 2011

Can your fiber cable network support 10G, 40G or 100G traffic?

Planning on building out a new network or thinking of upgrading your current system to keep up with the ever increasing bandwidth demand? Service Providers key objectives are to increase bandwidth, reduce costs, create new revenue streams, and provide a competitive and reliable service. To meet customers demand for more bandwidth and to future proof network investments, providers will most likely be deploying OC-192, DWDM, ROADMs, G.709, OC-768, 100GigE, POTS, etc. However before any design work is implemented it is imperative to test the fiber optic lines to make sure the fiber can actual carry these services without affecting the integrity of the data in anyway. Many times fiber characterization is considered after the fact and this leads to a very costly mistake.

Fiber characterization consists of a series of tests that help determine if the embedded fiber plant can support the optical services that will be deployed for a given network architect and transmission rate. The primary tests usually consist of OTDR, end to end loss, Optical Return loss (ORL), Polarization Mode Dispersion (PMD) and Chromatic Dispersion (CD). These tests are required for designing any high speed network ranging from 2.5Gbps, 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps, 100Gbps and these tests should be carried out before or during the design phase.

Dispersion is the key fundamental limiting factor in transmission rate and distance. To build a cost-effective, high capacity optical transmission network, dispersion management becomes a key factor. Before compensating for chromatic dispersion, the chromatic dispersion of a fiber network has to be measured accurately to determine the proper amount compensation required. PMD testing is also a major requirement and too much PMD can significantly affect the overall data rate which can impede your overall network design. End to end loss is also important in the overall network design and indicates when amplification is necessary and how much amplification is required. ORL testing is another important requirement and if not tested it can cause unforeseen errors in the network once it’s turned up.

If you deploy a network using incorrect data or if you do not test the actual fiber, you will spend significantly more than an investment in Fiber Characterization. You will run into common problems such as wrong compensation schemes, in-correct amplification, incorrect placement of regens etc. You may also experience physical failures within the fiber plant that need to be rectified for error free transmission. All this will lead to down time, more man power and more expenses will incur to rectify these issues. You will also discover that you now need additional equipment or you may discover you bought too much or even the wrong equipment.

Typically fiber characterization cost is usually around 1% of the network investment and this minimal cost helps guarantee network design and performance from the get go. This saves a lot of headaches and unforeseen expenses down the road. With a minimal investment up front you can’t afford not to test!

Need help with Fiber Characterization then let Adtell Integration assist you with your needs? If you would like to know more about our fiber characterization services please contact us 215-499-8959 or


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