This one is for the ages! New OTDR redefines enterprise fiber testing.
March 14, 2012 / General
By now you will have heard about the new OptiFiber Pro OTDR and that’s a relief for me because I’ve been biting my tongue for a while! Now that its been announced, let me share my impressions and an overview of what makes the product unique. I will also include some links to more detailed information. Take this from a guy that has spent five of the last seven years playing with OTDRs… I’ve used them all. And this one is going to change everything!
This is not an incremental improvement like we’ve seen in the industry recently. It really is going to redefine fiber testing. During the last few years, experts and new OTDR users have tended to choose between the powerful but complex and the limited but easy to operate. The OptiFiber Pro is going to make everybody fall in love with it! It happened in an engineering lab for me eleven months ago. I saw wires and printed circuit boards connected to a gesture capable touchscreen displaying an OTDR trace I had a desire to reach out and pinch the screen to zoom like I would on my iphone. But as smitten as I was by the display, and enthused by watching the user interface develop, I was even more impressed by the test capabilities of the OTDR. This one is going to change how datacenter and enterprise fiber cabling is tested. And that will help contractors, network owners, and even designers take advantage of the growing fiber optic business opportunity!
When the tech bubble burst a little over ten years ago, folks were asking me what I thought would become of the so called “fiber bandwidth glut”. To their surprise, I predicted the idea was hogwash and the bandwidth demands would consume the excess within a few years! I was more correct than I expected. After returning to a growth trajectory, fiber technology has continued to be deployed in all parts of the network. In today’s enterprise cabling industry, it’s become impossible to ignore the exponential and industry-changing growth of enterprise fiber. Tech companies and analysts have made a number of eye-opening predictions on the future of fiber that include:
- 57 percent annual growth in enterprise fiber ports (Dell’Oro).
- 1.5 billion new Internet-connected devices by 2015 (Intel).
- The equivalent of every movie ever made will transit IP networks every 5 minutes by 2015 (Cisco Systems).
These predictions, combined with the increased storage spend for cloud computing, the growth in 10Gbps+ fiber LAN transceivers, and one-hop fabrics replacing traditional switch architectures in the datacenter, means there is huge opportunity in the industry around fiber. Of course, part of this tremendous industry growth includes increased need for testing. Testing fiber has never been more critical for solving problems, improving network reliability, maintaining data access, certifying workmanship and enhancing productivity.
To address those challenges, the new OptiFiber Pro OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer), was built from the ground up for cabling and networking professionals responsible for enterprise fiber testing.
The new device features the industry’s fastest trace times, the only smartphone interface and an auto datacenter configuration mode. Here are the complete feature details:
- The first OTDR with a smartphone user-interface: Minimizes the learning curve typically associated with older OTDRs by greatly reducing complexity – helping any technician quickly become a fiber expert.
- A simplified “Datacenter” Mode: Automates the process of setting test parameters, like wavelength or end-detection algorithms, significantly reducing set-up time and the complexity of learning how to troubleshoot datacenter problems.
- The industry’s shortest event and attenuation dead zones: Tests connectors and patch cords as short as 0.5 meters. This is critical in virtualized server environments, where connections are often less than one meter and hidden performance issues can severely decrease the reliability of datacenters and storage area networks (SANs).
- Visual presentation of faults: Shows all fiber events graphically allowing any user to quickly and easily interpret OTDR trace results.
- Built-in project management tools: Facilitates the assignment and tracking of all fiber testing projects for multiple users, increasing efficiency, enhancing project tracking visibility and enabling cost-effective device sharing.
- Upgraded LinkWare™ management software: Eases the burden of workflow management, integrates test results, and keeps the OTDR up-to-date with the latest software.
Also, there are hundreds of people reading these blogs each week, but very few comments. Speak up! For example, please provide your comments about this product and the growth of enterprise fiber. Has this brought on any specific, day-to-day new challenges? What are you looking for in a tester that can help you meet the challenge?