TransAfrican Fibre Services skills and services cover all aspects of the fibre optic applications. Our services can begin at the design phase of a network, whether it is for a small office fibre backbone, a long haul backbone or an FTTx-type network. We also offer a product solution for all types of fibre cables and accessories such as panels, patch leads and network equipment. TransAfrican Fibre Services has a reliable supplier base of splicing and testing equipment. When it comes to the implementation of the network, we can utilise our micro duct blowing equipment to install the fibre and then splice and test the installed network. TransAfrican Fibre Services can offer a complete solution to your fibre optic requirements anywhere in South Africa or the African continent.
Fibre characterisation is defined as conducting a series of tests on an installed link in order to assess its general quality and its specific ability to support a particular application or applications. As data rates increase and systems become more complex there are many factors that can impair system performance. Fibre characterisation is the process of carrying out a comprehensive suite of tests that fully assess the capabilities of a fibre infrastructure.
So how is 'fibre characterisation' different from just testing fibres?
Well historically, when long-distance single-mode fibre links were commissioned, it was common practice just to be concerned with the losses of the installed links at two wavelengths: 1310nm and 1550nm. However, with DWDM systems and CWDM systems operating over wider wavelength ranges than the ability of the infrastructure to support these, other wavelengths may also need to be verified. In addition, as data rates increase from 2.5Gb/s to 10Gb/s and up to 40Gb/s, the dispersion characteristics of the fibre become much more critical and additional tests are required (including chromatic dispersion and polarisation mode dispersion). With PMD the performance of the fibre can vary significantly from fibre to fibre within the same cable and so it is often necessary to measure every fibre and keep detailed records of which fibres can support which data rates.
What is a CFCE?
A Certified Fibre Characterisation Engineer (CFCE) understands the fibre optic tests that are required to prove that advanced fibre infrastructures can support high data rate applications (10Gb/s, 40Gb/s) as well as extended wavelength range operation for DWDM and CWDM systems. We apply the full power of modern multi-purpose test platforms to carry out these tests including bi-directional OTDR testing, chromatic dispersion, polarisation mode dispersion and spectral attenuation. The CFCE would then process the results swiftly and efficiently using test report software to provide full system documentation. Interested parties would need to pass the exam to gain Certified Fibre Characterisation Engineer (CFCE) status. This certification covers all topic requirements for Advanced OTDR and Advanced PMD & CD understanding. Justin Hartley is currently the only fibre engineer on the African continent with a CFCE qualification.
Viavi Solutions Fibre Characterisation Service
Anyone turning up, qualifying, speeding up, or otherwise modifying a fibre optic network must understand—precisely and without guesswork—the quality of their infrastructure. Can the fibre handle the tighter tolerances of 10G or 40G dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM)? How are connectors and other inline components holding up? Can the existing fibre plant be upgraded? Will a new installation perform to service level agreements (SLAs)?
Accurately evaluating the quality of fibre spans requires a very high level of expertise and complex test equipment. For most network service providers, equipment manufacturers, and contractors, it makes sense to outsource periodic fibre characterisation to specialists who can get the job done quickly and correctly.
The Viavi Solutions fibre characterisation service independently verifies the quality and integrity of new or existing optical fibres to determine their suitability for today’s high-speed applications. Our expert field engineers perform comprehensive testing using the latest, award-winning fibre optic measurement instruments that are meticulously maintained and calibrated. With comprehensive reports that detail results and give clear analyses and recommendations, they can eliminate uncertainty and identify infrastructure and cross-carrier issues before deployment—avoiding the costs of troubleshooting and rework.
Network service providers, equipment manufacturers, and contractors all use the Viavi Solutions fibre characterisation service to assure top quality work, cost-effectively allocate resources, and efficiently meet the strictest deadlines:
• Benchmark accurate fibre test data from a trusted, independent third party
• Ensure that transmission characteristics meet performance standards for 10G, 40G, and DWDM
• Enable optimal network planning and engineering
• Meet the most aggressive deadlines with a team that masters complex, multi- carrier projects
• Avoid acquiring and maintaining equipment and personnel for a function with only sporadic demand.
Link characterisation measures fibre performance and the quality of its interconnections, such as splices or connectors. The suite of tests used primarily depends upon the user’s methods and procedures, which could be unidirectional or bidirectional and could comprise some or all of the following measurements covering the required parameters.
Network characterisation provides the baseline measurements for the network before turning up the transmission system. Measurements are performed through the optical amplifiers, dispersion compensators, and any elements in line. There is a limited suite of tests compared to the ones done for link characterisation.
Measurement Steps and Limits
Link and network characterisation measurements are performed during fibre installation, final commissioning, upgrades, and maintenance. If one or more measurements are not in accordance with defined thresholds (provided by either international standards or the operators/equipment manufacturers), the network will not function properly or cannot be upgraded to high bit rate transmission.
Please contact us with regards to characterisation services.
We also utilise the direct termination method of connecterisation which allows for connectors to be terminated onto the end of the fibres without having to splice or polish. TransAfrican Fibre Services has used this method in various applications and found that it is not only fast but also incurs very low connector loss.
Our testing is done with OTDRs (optical time domain reflectometers).
Splicing and Testing Equipment
Over the years TransAfrican Fibre Services has purchased a number of fusion splicers and OTDRs. In keeping with our impeccably high standards we have purchased equipment that is capable of providing the quality jointing and testing we demand from our equipment. To this end we utilise Fujikura 50s core alignment fusion splicers and the EXFO and Kingfisher range of testing equipment. We find this equipment to be reliable and robust and perfect for splicing and testing in harsh African environments.
We also believe that, in order to complete a job correctly, a fibre technician should be given the correct tools to complete a job.
Tools that TransAfrican Fibre Services currently uses:
• Ericsson FSU 975 Core Alignment fusion splicer
• 2 x Inno Instruments IFS9 fusion splicer
• Fujikura 50S fusion splicer
• Fujikura 60S fusion splicer
• EXFO, FTB 400 OTDR (Single-mode) tests up to 240-kilometres 1310-1550nm
• EXFO, FTB 200 OTDR (Multi-mode) test module 850-1300nm
• Noyes OFL 100 (Multi-mode)
• Kingfisher Optical power meter & light source 850-1610nm
• Noyes SMLP5-5 Loss test kit
• Noyes FTS1 Fibre Optical Talk set
• 6 x Precision Cleaver
• Amp Light Crimp Direct Termination Kit (ST&SC) x 3
• Nortel 2 Way Communications Fibre Kit
• Various fibre optical preparation tools
• Various vehicles
All our equipment is well cared for and serviced regularly to ensure that it operates to correct standards.
All splicing and testing equipment has calibration and certification certificates available on request.
Additional equipment is purchase-dependent on the requirements of the project. All equipment purchased will adhere to the project standard of splicing and testing. With our existing equipment we have successfully completed all our projects to the required standards.
All the equipment we have, and intend to purchase, is serviceable by the agents in South Africa.
Prior to commencement of any work all our equipment will be calibrated to ensure that it is working correctly.
We have in the past been requested to assist with the implementation of tender specifications, from basic cable specs through to network design. Whatever your consulting requirement we can provide you with the correct answers.