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Automating DWDM system analysis

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article image Exfo’s FTB-400 universal test system.

VICOM will soon launch the new Lambda Auto-Sweeper from Exfo Electro-Optical Engineering, a designer and manufacturer of fibre-optic test, measurement and automation solutions for the telecommunications industry.

The current focus for service providers is to optimise the cost and performance of existing metro and long-haul fibre-optic networks by adding new wavelengths through the deployment of DWDM technology.

Efficiently performing pre-commissioning characterisation of DWDM services and troubleshooting of active links is now critical. Such testing typically requires the generation and detailed analysis of high bit rates (e.g., 2.5Gb/s and 10Gb/s), as well as optical spectrum analysis (OSA).

Exfo's FTB-400 universal test system is a fully automated, integrated testing solution that leverages a complete range of physical, optical and protocol-layer test modules to increase operational efficiency.

The new Lambda Auto-Sweeper is designed to integrate the automated interaction and common reporting of three of the FTB-400 modules:

* The FTB-8000 SONET/SDH analyser.

* The FTB-5240 optical spectrum analyser.

* The FTB-9310 channel selector.

Before adding a new DWDM network element to, say, a live DWDM metro ring, carriers typically verify its integrity to minimise the impact of this operation on live traffic.

Known as "staging a DWDM network element" the typical procedure consists of looping the network element to itself and making sure the tributary traffic can be multi-/demulti-plexed error-free using test equipment connected to the tributary interfaces.

However, this can make it difficult to determine if an error occurs at the multi- or demulti-plexing stage.

Another technique (see diagram) connects the test equipment to both the tributary and the line side, injecting traffic at the tributary input of the multi-plexer and verifying its integrity within the multi-wavelength signal.

Also known as "DWDM asymmetrical testing" or "DWDM mux-wrap" this method enables better equipment characterisation and faster problem identification.

Automation can significantly accelerate the staging process, by integrating all the required components; SONET/SDH generator/analyser, OSA and DWDM channel selector in the one FTB-400 platform.

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