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Published on January 10, 2014

Part 2: 10,000 hours – Improving efficiency at all levels of deployment

In response to a challenge from my friend and colleague Dr. Jon Bradley regarding the “10,000-hours rule,” I’d like to share one example of what it can do for you: operational efficiency.

Let’s take a look at our unique intelligent optical link mapper (iOLM), which takes several OTDR traces at several pulse widths and combines them for extreme accuracy and resolution to achieve the best of all worlds: range when required, ongoing accuracy, and uncompromised resolution. This extra characterization of every single event on a fiber makes analysis much more powerful, so much in fact that the unit knows what is what, and represents it in a straightforward linear view of the link instead of an agglomerated and confusing OTDR trace. For example, a connector is no longer an “event,” it’s a connector. It’s so simple that it’s brilliant.

EXFO has been producing OTDRs for over two decades now, and is now closing in on three. That is a lot of engineering, and a lot of great minds and user experience—all packed up in an intelligent and automated OTDR. So, why keep the knowledge and expertise to ourselves?

Now comes the fun part...with such a powerful tool, each individual in-house or hired contactor technician will do a better job in the field while achieving faster, more coherent, consistent and accurate results—at maximum resolution, and always with the optimum test parameters. Guaranteed...because each unit provides the 10,000 hours required to be the best in its class.

As a trickle-down effect, these “best-results” will simplify the manager’s analysis job given that all of the results will be clear, valuable, and consistent. This will also simplify the manager’s support job, because nothing will go wrong out in the field with this OTDR. No trace is too complicated for green technicians, because there is no OTDR trace to analyze. Also, there’s no need to dispatch a pro to help out a junior, since the pro with 10,000 hours of intense training fits right into the palm of the newbie’s hand!

Now, stop reading and try to imagine how many hours per week per year every single manager can save, by being able to focus their attention on high-value tasks such as business management, vision and strategy for faster deployments, as well as more efficient turn-ups. On the whole, each manager would be able to focus on being a manager, instead of having to act as a fireman, so to speak, by responding to daily calls and issues.

Of course, more efficient managers lead to more efficient directors, and so forth. This also results in another positive effect that isn’t discussed nearly enough, i.e., the direct impact on customer satisfaction and experience (faster, more reliable service and quicker time to repair), which in turn greatly helps to reduce churn. That’s right, this test equipment has the potential to reduce churn!


The foundation of any telecom operator or service provider lies in the network, and the in-house or contractor technicians who support it. The precise nature of the job requires 10,000-hour, best-in-class training everywhere and at all levels, but the workforce is just way too large to make that dream a possibility. So wake up, the dream is now a reality with our iOLM and its ultimate operational efficiency capabilities.

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