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Fiber optic testing in the 5G era: how to avoid the OPEX Vortex

The next wave of wireless broadband is here.

As the 5G rollout continues across the country and globe, the future of wireless connectivity is evolving and taking shape before our eyes – but it’s also bringing along significant challenges.

However, those challenges don’t have to mean increased training and dollars spent, more truck rolls, and other significant resource spending that could lead you into an “OPEX vortex” – with an Optical Fiber Multimeter as a part of your testing toolkit, you can experience new and exciting testing frontier.

Let’s dive in.

Challenges Associated with 5G Deployment and Testing

It’s a simple concept – with an advancement in technology comes a significant boost in resources dedicated to that technology.

In the case of 5G, that breaks down to new architectures, new testing requirements, more fiber, and more.

In fact, an EXFO-sponsored survey, published as part of the Annual Industry Survey 2019 Report, found that:

  • 27% of respondents labeled 5G new radio as the top 5G technology challenge, while 20% called out transport – in other words, strengthening and updating the fiber infrastructure
  • It’s also clear that customer expectations will drive the need for efficiency – 31% of respondents labeled “extremely high expectations” as the largest market challenge associated with 5G
  • Respondents are also concerned with the cost of rollout, with 26% of respondents calling that the largest market challenge

The challenges associated with 5G – which is here, now – are numerous. From complexity to cost, customer expectations and more, the telecom industry’s key players are scrambling to find a way to engage in this higher level of connectivity and service without significant investment in upskilling technicians or overcomplicated equipment.

Enter Optical Fiber Multimeter (OFM) Testing

Optical Fiber Multimeter, or OFM, solutions fill that gap between the current knowledge of technicians and preparedness for the future of wireless broadband. These devices open the door for technician to adopt a new proactive approach that reduces the number of steps within the set of established methods and procedures.

Essentially, an OFM testing solutions is an essential tool for technicians testing optical fiber, alike to well-known multimeters used for fiber optic technicians, alike to well-known multimeters used for electrical circuits. It measures key optical parameters (power, insertion loss, optical return loss and length) to verify fiber optic link health.

And EXFO’s Optical Explorer is the market’s first OFM solution. It provides an easy-to-understand and simple, smartphone-like interface that provides a smooth learning curve for technicians, cutting down on necessary training and resources. This version allows technicians to quickly and efficiently verify optical links, get help on the interpretation of link key parameters through a star rating, and automatically explores further to define problems when issues are detected. From there, the issue can be solved on-site without escalating to the deployment of a level-2 expert and additional truck rolls.

With the Optical Explorer, you’ll be able to –

  • Display fiber link health hey parameters: fiber length, insertion loss and optical return loss automatically in under three seconds
  • Get assistance on the interpretation of the link key parameters and identify faults in a simple, one-step test
  • Confirm a pass on good links within five seconds so no time is spent where there are no issues.
  • Provide onsite detection of faults and common causes of failures
  • Empower technicians to obtain a “self-diagnosis” that indicates when to perform maintenance on the unit or replace damaged click-out optical connectors right from the field without significant training – no device downtime.
  • Leverage power checking and light source capabilities for a quick continuity or power level check during activation.

The Optical Explorer is a rugged, mobile and intuitive device that empowers techs to do more, even as the future of mobile broadband dawns, and you to speed up installation, service activation, mean time to repair and time to revenue, all while meeting the elevated expectations of modern end users.

You’ll also bring down OPEX and CAPEX by reducing the total cost of ownership via a reduction in training, truck rolls and onsite expert calls, and more – without sacrificing performance.

Learn more about how the Optical Explorer is revolutionizing the way you test in the 5G era.