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iLOOP function from EXFO reduces OTDR test time

The new intelligent loopback feature for EXFO’s intelligent Optical Link Mapper (iOLM) application is designed to simplify optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) testing by allowing two fibres to be characterised at once.

This doubles test efficiency, resulting in time spent on testing and analysis being slashed by at least 50 per cent, the company claims. Cutting fibre-testing time in half amounts to substantial opex savings - a key consideration for operators.

The iLOOP feature relies on the loopback single-ended measurement method which allows two fibres to be characterised through a single acquisition. This feature automatically separates the test results from the two fibres - live from the test site - thus eliminating the need for additional post-processing.

Once the measurement has been completed, iLOOP automatically creates two distinct fibre links, applies pass/fail thresholds and generates individual iOLM and OTDR (.SOR) files with a report for each individual fibre. Efficiency is greatly increased directly from the field, enabling technicians to close jobs faster and immediately move on to the next task.

iLOOP is particularly relevant in applications using duplex fibre installations, such as in wireless fronthaul or data centres, where the fibre count is usually high and new services need to be turned up quickly. EXFO says the feature will be particulrly useful for fibre-to- the-antenna (FTTA) and distributed antenna systems (DAS) applications, as it enables technicians to simultaneously test transmit and receive fibres by adding a simple loop jumper between two fibres at the tower top. This simplified test process allows tower climbers, often less familiar with optical fibre, to reach the top of the tower with simple connector inspection equipment and a fibre loop jumper while the main test instrument remains safe on the ground.

“Creating solutions that help our customers reduce operating expenses is top-of-mind at EXFO,” said Étienne Gagnon, vice-president, physical-layer and wireless division. “With massive FTTA and data centre deployments becoming more commonplace, the ability to characterise two fibres at once using iLOOP represents opex savings in both time and equipment. This simplicity and accuracy in OTDR testing makes EXFO’s iOLM solution the tool of choice for fibre installers and contractors.”

With automated multi-pulse acquisitions and advanced algorithms, EXFO's iOLM OTDR-based application delivers detailed information on every element across the link with a single button operation, the company says. Add the iLOOP feature and iOLM delivers maximum intelligence and simplicity for expert-level link characterisation - now twice as fast as ever.


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