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Introducing the new, breakthrough Pol-Mux OSA for coherent systems


I recently had the chance to interview my colleague Jean-Sébastien Tassé about EXFO's new Pol-Mux Optical Spectrum Analyzer (OSA). Here are his answers to my questions: 

What does this product do and what is it primarily used for?

JST: The new Pol-Mux OSA is the first instrument capable of measuring optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) of 40G/100G coherent (or Pol-Mux) systems. OSNR has long been recognized as a key performance indicator in wavelength-division multiplexed (WDM) networks, because it assesses the signal quality of each channel. Moreover, OSNR measurements are the best way to troubleshoot noise issues in networks, which are a common cause of failure in WDM systems. However, for Pol-Mux signals at 40G and 100G, the known methods of measuring OSNR, for instance, IEC 61280-2-9 (interpolation method) and in-band methods, do not work. In addition to the Pol-Mux OSNR measurement capability, our Pol-Mux OSA has all the standard capabilities of traditional OSAs.

Is this a new product or will it be replacing an existing technology?

In actual fact, this new solution is a software option that can be added to our existing in-band OSAs consisting of the FTB-5240S-P, FTB-5240BP, IQS-5240S-P and IQS-5240BP. The nice thing about this solution is that all customers with EXFO in-band OSAs can easily convert them into Pol-Mux OSAs.

What makes this OSNR solution better than the competition’s?

EXFO is the first company to launch a portable solution for Pol-Mux OSNR measurements. A few of the benefits over the competition are as follows:

  • First independent, third-party solution
  • Vendor neutral: functions with all system vendors
  • Portability

Which market segments/clients is this product designed for?

This product is suitable for any telecommunication operator, service provider, cable operator, or network equipment manufacturer (NEM) deploying 40G/100G Pol-Mux systems.

What are the main benefits and advantages of this product for EXFO’s clients?

The benefits are numerous, and include:

  • Time and cost savings, in addition to reduced risk of human errors thanks to automation of measurements based on the channel turn-off method
  • An intuitive user interface
  • The only instrument capable of measuring the Pol-Mux OSNR performance of systems from different vendors

Why is this product so important, and what is EXFO hoping to achieve with it as a result?

This product is very important, because it enables measuring of Pol-Mux OSNR. But, why should service providers measure Pol-Mux OSNR, or even OSNR in general? In general, service providers want to measure OSNR at turn-up to prevent potential failures of 40G/100G due to noise issues. Using our Pol‑Mux OSA, customers can check whether their OSNR value is high enough to ensure smooth operation, which ultimately reduces trucks rolls and troubleshooting tickets. Measuring OSNR at turn-up is all about reducing operational expenses during the operation phase.