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International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering

Website: www.ijetae.com (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2012)

Fault Detection Technique by using OTDR: Limitations


and drawbacks on practical approach of measurement
Vivek Kumar1, Deepak Rajouria2
1

B.E, Electronics & Communication, PIT, RGTU, BHOPAL, M.P, INDIA


M.Tech, IIT Roorkee, SDE (Transmission), BSNL, CHHAPRA, BIHAR, INDIA

B) Fault Rectification Phase: The objective of this


phase is to make OFC joint with a minimal spice
loss. The instrument used for jointing is called
fusion splicer.

Abstract Practically in all kind of communication system,


more or less losses are involved. To make the system more
efficient, it is needed to identify and trace the faults & losses
so that suitable techniques can be implemented to eliminate or
reduce the losses. In optical fiber communication, optical time
domain reflectometry (OTDR) is a commonly used technique
for characterization and fault location of optical fiber
transmission systems. It involves measuring the fraction of a
probe pulse that is scattered back (by Rayleigh scattering)
from a silica fiber. Because of the very small levels of
backscatter in single-mode fiber at long wavelengths, very
sensitive optical detection is necessary to achieve adequate
range performance. This paper presents a practical approach,
to understand the extent of feasibility of optical fiber cable
(OFC) fault detection and rectification technique, being used
in the Indias largest telecom service providing organization,
Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). BSNL has a 686644
Km OFC network which covers the entire country. The actual
place of fault shows variation with the measured value of
OTDR. Hence it becomes a tedious work to locate the actual
place of fault, which leads to an uneconomical and time taking
rectification method. The practically observed values of
OTDR show the gradual decrement of accuracy in locating
the actual place of fault. To solve the problem an algorithm is
proposed. At the end of this paper, the experiment results are
shown to verify the algorithm.

II. FAULT DETECTION AND RECTIFICATION PROCESS


Let us understand it with an example. Assume there are
two telephone exchanges A and B which are located at a
distance of D from each other. Both the telephone
exchanges are connected to each other through an optical
fiber link. Now due to some reason the OFC which
connects A and B has been cut. As soon as the OFC
breaks between A & B, the optical fiber transmission
equipments installed at A & B start displaying visual
alarms. After noticing visual alarms it is assumed that
there may be OFC break between A & B. To verify this
assumption or to know the actual place of OFC break,
OTDR is connected to fiber at A or B or both and the
length of fiber is measured. There can be only two
possibilities
A) The length of fiber (Y) = D which means there is
no OFC break.
B) The length of fiber (Y) < D which means OFC
has been broken.
Once the length of fiber Y is known which is less than
D because the OFC has been broken. Now to rectify the
OFC break fault, the distance X (X = Y) from A is
measured along the OFC route on the road through distance
meter or any vehicle.

Keywords Optical fiber communication, Fault detection,


Fault localization, Optical time domain reflectometry,
Rayleigh scattering.

I. INTRODUCTION
The complete process of Optical fiber fault detection and
rectification has two different phases:-

A) Fault Detection Phase: The objective of this phase


is to locate the place where optical fiber cable
(OFC) has been cut due to some reason like
construction of road. The instrument which is used
for this purpose is called OTDR (Optical Time
Domain Reflectometer).

Earth
Surfa
ce
OFC
Y
Fig.-1

283

OFC Break

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering


Website: www.ijetae.com (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2012)
After reaching at the distance of X, two digs are made at
both the sides of the cut at an approximate distance of 1020 meters. The distance between dig and the cut should
not be very large otherwise it becomes difficult to pull the
broken cable.

The communication between A and B again starts as the


OFC fault is rectified. Now the distance between A and
B = D + the length of new fiber.
III. PROBLEM IN THIS PROCESS

Digs

Considering fig.5 which explains that the distance


travelled X (equal to Y) on the earth doesnt indicate the
place of actual OFC break. The reason is previous joints
between the Telephone Exchange A and location of cut.
So, the distances traveled on the earth surface will not be
the actual place of OFC break. The difference Z increases
as the Y increases. If the Y is very large then it becomes a
tedious job to locate the actual place of fiber break.

Earth
OFC
OFC Break
Fig.-2

After making two digs we pull the broken cable out from
both the digs and laid a new cable between both the digs.
X=Y

Earth
OFC
Y

Earth
Surfa
ce
OFC

OFC Break
Fig.5 which explains that the distant traveled X (equal to Y) on the
earth doesnt indicate the place of actual OFC break

New OFC

Increase in length of fiber due to OFC joints: Since at


every OFC cut, an extra is required to make two OFC joints
which finally increases the fiber length but the end points
A and B doesnt move.

Fig.-3

Both the ends of the new cable are jointed with the broken
ends of old cable. The instrument which is used to make
OFC joint is called fusion splicer or splicing machine. The
OFC joints are cover by joint closure box. Then the joint
closure boxes are placed under the digs and digs are filled
with earth.

On considering three different cases


A) At every OFC cut 10 meter fiber is used to make
OFC joints
B) At every OFC cut 20 meter fiber is used to make
OFC joints
C) At every OFC cut 30 meter fiber is used to make
OFC joints

Earth
Surfa
OFCce
New OFC

Below table and graph show the increment in length of


fibre in all three cases

Joint closure
box
Fig.-4

284

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering


Website: www.ijetae.com (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2012)
The above graph shows that if the length of extra fiber is
increased from 10 meter to 20 meter the slope of curve is
increased.

Increase in fiber length (m)


No.
of
OFC
cuts

No of
OFC
joints

Case 1:
10m fiber is
used at each
OFC cut

Case 2:
15m fiber
is used at
each OFC
cut

Case 3: 20m
fiber is used
at each OFC
cut

10

15

20

20

30

40

30

45

60

40

60

80

10

50

75

100

12

60

90

120

14

70

105

140

16

80

120

160

18

90

135

180

10

20

100

150

200

IV. PRESENT DRAWBACK OF OTDR MEASUREMENT


(A) Time consumption- It takes more time to localize the
actual place of fault since the fault show the variation with
increasing distance
(B) System inefficiency- For eccentric successive faults, it
is very difficult to locate all the faults. The main problem
arises here is that one fault lead to escape of optical signal,
due to which a fault at some distance cannot be traced.
Hence the first fault is needed to rectify then only the next
fault can be localized & rectified.
(C) Uneconomical- Hence its costs more labor charge and
become expensive.
(D) Fading of accuracy and precision- As distance
increases the variation in the measured distance
(theoretically by OTDR) starts varying more when
practically tried to sort out. Hence it leads to a more
uncertainty in fault localization.
V. PROPOSED SOLUTION
An algorithm can be designed to predict the actual
location of fault on earth from the data collected from
measuring and testing equipments. An algorithm has been
proposed to predict the actual location of fault on earth.
The algorithm uses the total loss measured from OTDR to
predict the actual location of fault.
Assumptions:
A) Link Loss = [fiber length (km) x fiber attenuation
per km] + [splice loss x # of OFC joint] +
[connector loss x # of connector.
B) Every OFC cut increases only two OFC joints
Description:
Let, A = fiber length (km) x fiber attenuation per km
B = connector loss x # of connectors
C = greatest integer smaller than fiber length (if fiber
length is 10.65 km, then C would be 10 km)

285

Link Loss = A + [splice loss x # of OFC joint] + B

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering


Website: www.ijetae.com (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2012)

No. of OFC joints (expected) = {Link Loss - (A + B)}/


splice loss

The no. of OFC joints consist two types of joints.


A) Initial OFC joints at the time of commission of
fiber cable. (These joints do not increase the fiber
length)

B) OFC joints being made due to OFC break after


commissioning of fiber cable. (These joints
increase the total fiber length.)
Initial OFC joints = C. (if C is equal to 10 km, it means
initial OFC joints would be 10)
Predicted OFC joints (those increases fiber length) =
OFC joints (expected) - Initial OFC joints
Predicted OFC cuts = Predicted OFC joints /2
Increase in fiber length (km) = # of predicted OFC cuts
x increase in fiber length per predicted OFC cut
Deviation of actual fault location on earth = Increase in
fiber length
Location of fault on earth (km) = Distance measured
by OTDR - Deviation of actual fault location on earth

Fiber break found at 9.362 KM by OTDR. Picture shows the reading


of OTDR

Fiber length is equal to 9.362 km. So, initial OFC joints


would be 9.
Link loss = 5 dB
Number of connector = 1 (used in OTDR)
Calculation of actual fault location on earth

Symbol: - #: number, x: multiplication


Length of fiber or fiber break point and link loss (dB) can
be measured by OTDR. So, the above algorithm can be
used to predict the actual location of fault on earth.

A (dB) = fiber length (km) x fiber attenuation per km =


9.362 x = 0.3 = 2.8086 dB
B (dB) = connector loss x # of connectors = 0.75 x 1 = 0.75
dB
C = 9, initial OFC joints = 9

Experimental Analysis
Fiber type

Single Mode

Wavelength

1550 nm

Fiber attenuation per


km

0.3 dB

No. of OFC joints (expected) = {Link Loss - (A + B)}/


splice loss = {5 (2.8086 + 0.75)}/0.1= 14.414 15
Predicted OFC joints = OFC joints (expected) - Initial OFC
joints = 15 9 = 6
Predicted OFC cuts = Predicted OFC joints /2 = 6/2 = 3

(These values are in accordance


of TIA/EIA and other industry
specifications)

Connector loss

0.75 dB

Splice loss

0.1 dB

Fiber length per drum

2 km

Increase in fiber length = # of predicted OFC cuts x


increase in fiber length as per predicted OFC cut = 3 x 10 =
30 meter
Deviation of actual fault location on earth = Increase in
fiber length = 30 meter
Location of fault on earth (km) = Distance measured by
OTDR - Deviation of actual fault location on earth = 9362
30 = 9332 meter = 9.332 km

286

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering


Website: www.ijetae.com (ISSN 2250-2459, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2012)
So, the actual location of fault on earth is 9.332 km which
is 30 meter before 9.362 km measured by OTDR.

REFERENCES
[1]

Yonggang Wen, Vincent W.S. Chan and Lizhong Zheng, Efficient


fault diagnosis for all-optical networks: An information theoretic
approach in ISIT 2006, Seattle, USA, July 9-14,2006

[2]

Dan L. Philen, Ian A. White, Jane F. Kuhl, And Stephen C. Mettler,


Single-Mode Fiber OTDR: Experiment and Theory Ieee
Transactions On Microwave Theory And Techniques, Vol. Mtt-3o,
No. 10, October 1982

[3]

J. P. King, D. F. Smith, K. Richards, P. Timson, R. E. Epworth, And


S. Wright, Development of a Coherent OTDR Instrument in
Journal of lightwave technology, vol. Lt-5, no. 4, April 1987

[4] Mohammad Syuhaimi Ab-Rahman, Ng Boon Chuan, Mohd. Hadi


Guna Safual,Kasmiran Jumari, The overview of fiber fault
localization technology in TDM-PON network, in 2008
International Conference on Electronic Design

[5] Gerd Keiser, Optical Fiber Communications, 3rd edition, McGrawHill International Editions, 2000.

Above graph shows that at different level of losses the


distance measured from OTDR is same i.e. 9.362 km and
how the actual location of OFC break deviates from
distance measured by OTDR. The actual OFC break
location shown in graph is calculated by proposed
algorithm.

VI. CONCLUSION
The objective of this paper is to obtain a more precise,
economic and time-saving fault detection and rectification
technique. The difference in OTDR measured value and the
value obtained from the proposed algorithm witness that
the actual place of fault shows variation with the measured
value of OTDR. Hence with the use of algorithm, the actual
place of fault can be traced more precisely. Also it is a
challenging issue to trace successive faults in OFC i.e.
faults at small distances in one go. This work can be used
to derive a more efficient method or algorithm for locating
the successive faults i.e. faults with small distances
between them.

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