UK’s National Grid taps EXFO for fiber monitoring pilot

Jan. 23, 2023
The effort calls for National Grid to also leverage Torrance, CA based Intellisense Systems’ micro weather station (MWS) Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

EXFO says it will participate in a pilot project with the UK’s National Grid that will focus on fiber monitoring. The project will see the National Grid use EXFO technology to assess the operational condition of its fiber network, predict the network’s remaining lifespan, and identify potential weakness and failure points.

The effort calls for National Grid to also leverage Torrance, CA based Intellisense Systems’ micro weather station (MWS) Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Deployed along the network, the devices are designed to measure the environmental effects of wind, humidity, and meteorological events on network health.

The pilot project will take place across an 80-km span of National Grid’s overhead fiber-optic operational telecommunications network over 12 months. The deployment of  EXFO’s optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) fiber monitoring units and Intellisense Systems devices began last October.

Data from the OTDRs and weather monitoring devices will feed into EXFO’s Nova SensAI platform, which the company says classifies, correlates, and groups abnormal events affecting network performance. If the pilot is successful, National Grid believes that widespread deployment of the technology could save as much as £2.9 million ($3.5 million) from failure avoidance and network lifespan extension.

“Operational telecommunications networks are an important part of our critical national infrastructure and play a key role in enabling our transition to a net zero economy by 2050,” said Tom Charton, senior innovation engineer at the National Grid. “Large parts of our fiber network are reaching an age where failures may become more frequent and more difficult to address. We are therefore exploring new ways to monitor and model fiber health and its evolution over time to enable optimized planning of refurbishment and replacement interventions.”

For related articles, visit the Test and Measurement Topic Center.

For more information on test equipment and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer’s Guide.

To stay abreast of optical communications technology, subscribe to Lightwave’s Enabling Technologies Newsletter.

About the Author

Stephen Hardy | Editorial Director and Associate Publisher, Lightwave

Stephen Hardy is editorial director and associate publisher of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report, part of the Lighting & Technology Group at Endeavor Business Media. Stephen is responsible for establishing and executing editorial strategy across the both brands’ websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products. He has covered the fiber-optics space for more than 20 years, and communications and technology for more than 35 years. During his tenure, Lightwave has received awards from Folio: and the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) for editorial excellence. Prior to joining Lightwave in 1997, Stephen worked for Telecommunications magazine and the Journal of Electronic Defense.

Stephen has moderated panels at numerous events, including the Optica Executive Forum, ECOC, and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. He also is program director for the Lightwave Innovation Reviews and the Diamond Technology Reviews.

He has written numerous articles in all aspects of optical communications and fiber-optic networks, including fiber to the home (FTTH), PON, optical components, DWDM, fiber cables, packet optical transport, optical transceivers, lasers, fiber optic testing, and more.

You can connect with Stephen on LinkedIn as well as Twitter.

Sponsored Recommendations

Data Center Interconnection

June 18, 2024
Join us for an interactive discussion on the growing data center interconnection market. Learn about the role of coherent pluggable optics, new connectivity technologies, and ...

Balanced vs. Unbalanced PON: Key Differences and Deployment Impact

Nov. 7, 2023
Learn how to choose the right PON architecture for your network.

AI’s magic networking moment

March 6, 2024
Dive into the forefront of technological evolution with our exclusive webinar, where industry giants discuss the transformative impact of AI on the optical and networking sector...

Connecting the world, one fiber at a time

Dec. 12, 2023
The world runs on ethernet: the future of higher speeds