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Breaking Bad Connections: Where Fiber Meets Copper

The expansion of fiber into the outside plant (OSP) network has had many impacts, namely it has brought fiber all the way to the home (FTTH). Another one has been the inception of copper/fiber hybrid networks (FTTN/FTTC), comprised of fiber-fed remote terminals that provide customers with high-speed DSL over the last copper mile.

Traditionally, the repair and maintenance of copper and fiber plants have been segregated, with workgroups being specialized on one or the other. Today, OSP operators are not only installing and repairing copper, they are also installing and repairing pure fiber, fiber-fed remote systems and high-speed DSL (ADSL2+/VDSL2). As the number of hybrid networks continues to grow, having separate workgroups is becoming time-consuming, less effective, frustrating for customers who are awaiting service restoration and, as Spock would say, totally illogical.

Training technicians to handle both fiber and copper is the obvious way to go. This will save time and money because any technician will be able to resolve any issue with any of the technologies on his territory – no referrals, no delays.

However, these new hybrid technicians will require new hybrid modular test tools that provide functions and interfaces for repairing and maintaining any fiber/copper/DSL link in the network. Fiber inspection, visual fault location and optical power measurement will allow a technician to troubleshoot and maintain FTTx circuits. Plus, the copper/DSL module can be swapped for an OTDR when faced with very complex fiber maintenance.

In short, when considering the best and most economical approach to hybrid network maintenance, a hybrid modular test tool is the perfect solution to help technicians be more effective and restore service faster “where fiber meets copper.” For more information, download our FTTx and Hybrid Reference poster.