Network Communications News (NCN) September 2016 - Page 24

F E AT U R E fibre testing Bi-directional testing in the field In the field, cutting costs and minimising test time are not the only benefits of using SmartLoop and OTDR for bi-directional testing. Some installations are located in dangerous or remote areas, and the ability to reduce risk of injury is as significant as reducing test time. For example, Twistnet Communications provides companies in the UK and Europe with core services, offering experts in fusion splicing, direct fibre termination, OTDR and powermeter testing and certification and repair. The company was recently hired to test and certify a fibre installation located at an offshore wind farm. Offshore wind farms are increasingly used for generating power, especially in the stormy North Seas off the east coast of the United Kingdom. However, the violent weather and high voltage environment – average wind turbine project capacity is between 150 and 500MW – make for significant risk factors that contractors need to consider. Twistnet Communications was hired to provide testing and certification services that required a technician to test more than 400 links bi-directionally inside a high voltage electrical substation. Such a high voltage work environment mandated costly safety certifications for any on site technician performing the work to reduce health and safety risks. Twistnet used Fluke Networks OptiFiber Pro with SmartLoop which gave an unexpected advantage in working on the wind farm project. OptiFiber Pro with SmartLoop reduces the complexity of using an OTDR and speeds to process of bidirectional testing. ‘With SmartLoop we were able to borrow a wind farm technician to take the place of one our technicians inside the substation. That allowed us to save money by not having to train one of our technicians and get the job done in a timely way,’ said John Marson, managing director of Twistnet Communications. Twistnet provided the wind farm technician with quick training on using a fibre optic loopback cable. Communicating by walkie-talkie, Twistnet technicians coordinated with the wind farm technician to work his way through moving the loopback cable through each cable pair while the Twistnet tech tested each link bi-directionally. ‘Importantly, we can cut down on testing time with SmartLoop, which is a benefit for winning projects,’ stated John Marson. ‘We have probably won 20 contracts since we started using SmartLoop for testing and certification.’ link passes or fails the instant they complete the bi-directional test.  OTDR certification and troubleshooting