UTEL launches Fast Light FTTH fault detector

United Technologists Europe Ltd (UTEL), a research and development laboratory in the UK, plans to launch a new product aimed at minimizing network down time on passive optical networks (PONs) at ECOC 2012. Called Fast Light, it provides a complete system for automating the fault-finding process and carrying out protection switching of optical line terminal (OLT) ports.

United Technologists Europe Ltd (UTEL), a research and development laboratory in the UK, plans to launch a new product aimed at minimizing network down time on passive optical networks (PONs) at ECOC 2012. Called Fast Light, it provides a complete system for automating the fault-finding process and carrying out protection switching of optical line terminal (OLT) ports.

The commercial benefit of Fast Light is clear just by looking at the business case for handling even a single OLT port failure, the company claims. Failure of a single PON fiber can result in 64 customers losing their TV or internet access. Fast Light enables service providers to remotely identify all customers potentially affected by a fault within minutes and sometimes before a single call is made to the customer contact center. This allows the operator to restore the service quickly, while reducing the cost to make the repair.

“Fast Light will dramatically shift the business case for FTTH,” claimed Frank Kaufhold, managing director of UTEL. “Before we achieved this everyone thought that it was impossible. Not only did we develop an OTDR that could see through 128 to 1 splitters, but also a truly low-cost optical test access switch, which changes the business case for this technology from ‘difficult’ to a no-brainer.”

“Other solutions that currently try to solve the same problem rely on the service providers fitting a wavelength-dependent mirror in front of every customer’s ONT. This adds an additional €20 cost for each customer connection, so a million customers equal €20 million of extra expenditure. It’s no wonder the business case has bombed for such solutions,” he added.

If a customer reports a fault, Fast Light can compare the traces of all customers with a previous good version stored on file. This enables the rapid detection of every single customer experiencing problems. In the event of an OLT port failure, Fast Light can then automatically reconnect the fiber to a spare OLT port. What’s more, Fast Light can run automated ODTR testing in the background, detecting and fixing faults before customers become aware of any problems.

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