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AFL Awarded Patent for OTDR Technology

SPARTANBURG, S.C., and BELMONT, N.H., July 18, 2013 — Fiber optic test equipment supplier AFL has received a patent for the development of optical time-domain reflectometers (OTDRs) to detect and test fiber signals.

Traditional OTDRs have a number of test ports; e.g., one port may be the source of dark (out of service) test signals, while another serves as the source for live (in service) test signals. Because all test signals are not present on one port, users must swap the fiber under test from one port to the other to complete testing.

Under US Patent No. 8,411,259, multiple wavelength-specific test signal generators and detector channels are combined on a single OTDR test port. The approach enables users to determine if a fiber is live or dark, to measure the power level of any signals present on the fiber and to apply test signals (including noninterfering signals) on dark and live fibers, all without having to swap test ports or equipment.

AFL’s Noyes OFL280 and FLX380 FlexTester OTDRs with ServiceSafe have leveraged the approach to automatically detect live fibers, measure downstream signal levels and restrict test signals to only those wavelengths not present on the fiber.

“This unique OTDR architecture reduces the complexity and time it takes to test a PON [passive optical network], increasing our customers’ efficiency and reducing their test costs,” said Seán Adam, general manager of AFL’s Noyes Test and Inspection business unit.

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