Engineering firm UTEL has redesigned its last-mile copper testing technology to enable operators to retrospectively fit it to existing fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) installations.
UTEL’s Test Access Switch Matrix (TASM) equipment allows operators to recognise and repair line faults more quickly, by providing detailed information on what and where the problem is, enabling engineers to be dispatched straight to the affected part of the network.
The new design – which condenses UTEL’s test heads and access switches into a compact space – allows operators to pass on these benefits to end-users receiving superfast broadband from older cabinets, rather than just using it in new cabinets.
“With our latest product, the aim is simple,” said Frank Kaufhold, managing director of UTEL. “Operators are well aware of the benefits last-mile copper testing technology brings but having to build it into the design of new cabinets was limiting so we wanted to condense everything down in order for it to be added at any time in a cabinet’s life-span.”
The new equipment was developed at the request of a leading European operator with mass deployment of FTTC, which has already placed an order for the copper testing equipment.
Unlike single-ended, double-ended or metallic line tests, the new test equipment does not rely on an active modem at the customer end of the network. It can also detect and isolate faults on the copper line from the network operator’s contact centre without the need for skilled engineers to interpret the data.
“FTTC is a great way to deliver superfast broadband but people often forget that it still requires the existing copper infrastructure to deliver the service between the cabinet and the home,” added Kaufhold. “Consequently, when a fault develops there are numerous places it could be located and without the right technology finding and fixing faults on FTTC set-ups can be a time consuming and expensive operation.”