AFL receives flexible port OTDR patent

The U.S. Patent Office has granted AFL a patent for optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) technology. US Patent 8,411,259 covers OTDRs where multiple wavelength-specific test signal generators and detector channels are combined on a single OTDR test port.

The U.S. Patent Office has granted AFL a patent for optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) technology. US Patent 8,411,259 covers OTDRs where multiple wavelength-specific test signal generators and detector channels are combined on a single OTDR test port.

AFL says the technology enables technicians to determine if a fiber is live or dark, to measure the power level of any signals present on the fiber, and to apply test signals (including non-interfering signals) on dark and live fibers all from the same test port. Typical OTDRs usually devote different test ports for different functions. For example, one port may handle dark (out-of-service) test signals while another may be the source of live (in-service) test signals. To switch from dark test signals to live ones, the OTDR user would have to connect the line under test to both ports. In PON applications, the technician also may have to connect the fiber to a third port for PON power meter capabilities.

AFL asserts the newly patented technology is the first to combine a PON power meter with a live/dark fiber OTDR on a single test port. The company has incorporated the technology in the NOYES OFL280 and FLX380 FlexTester OTDRs with ServiceSafe. The units use the technology to automatically detect live fibers, measure downstream signal levels, and restrict tests signals to wavelengths not present on the fiber.

“Our focus is to provide innovative, easy-to-use solutions and services to make our customers successful,” commented Seán Adam, general manager of AFL’s NOYES Test and Inspection business unit. “This unique OTDR architecture reduces the complexity and time it takes to test a PON network, increasing our customers’ efficiency and reducing their test costs.”

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