Eric Honig, EXFO’s Director, Access and Platform Ecosystem Business Units, recently participated in a podcast hosted by ISE Magazine (formerly OSP Magazine).
Subscribers have an ever-growing need for more bandwidth. Eric discussed the challenges service providers are facing within that environment; the latest technologies being deployed; and testing practices that are critical to successfully installing and deploying these new technologies and networks.
Access Eric’s podcast here or read on for a detailed summary of his main discussion points.
There are several new technologies available, each with their own business drivers. They can be divided up between copper-based and fiber-based.
Copper-based technologies, including VDSL2 vectoring and Gfast, makes sense when the copper infrastructure is already in place.
Fiber-based technologies are the best choice for greenfield areas as well as strategic locations where deployments can be cost-justified given the potential for higher service revenue.
In all the cases mentioned above—whether copper or fiber—new deployments will occur. As a result, testing of the physical layer as well as service validation will be required. It is vital to establish best testing practices for each phase in order to achieve expected data rates and reliability while minimizing costly and time-consuming troubleshooting efforts.
To ensure deployment success for both optical and twisted-pair copper networks, specific steps should be followed.
Step one: Perform testing at every deployment phase to make sure that the new optical component is correctly installed. These tests may range from a simple connector endface inspection or an optical power measurement to more advanced qualification such as optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) testing.
Step two: Establish testing methods of procedure (MOPs) that include all the steps needed to deploy the fiber and ensure compliance across field teams.
Step one: Physical measurements such as stress balance, impulse noise, resistive fault location (RFL), and time domain reflectometer (TDR) are just a few measurements that are key to detecting and locating copper faults during the installation and repair phases.
Step two: Automated Gfast (or VDSL2) closeout tests are necessary to validate subscriber data rates and performance.
Step three: It is important to validate the real throughput of a circuit using a trusted method for testing speed, preferably one that subscribers themselves are familiar with, such as Speedtest® by Ookla®. Further validation of services such as IPTV and VoIP are required to ensure there are no issues.
Critical to the successful deployment of any type of network is field process automation. It streamlines and automates complex testing procedures during both the construction and turn-up phases and delivers key benefits including:
As well, improving visibility of the test data, with the ability to dashboard benchmark performance indicators such as network quality and job progress and contractor efficiency, is critical. It’s not enough to simply capture data, but there must be a way to visualize it to easily see the important network and systems information that it carries.
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