New at LCL is our state-of-the art Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer (OTDR). We have invested in this measuring device to enable us to accurately diagnose problems in our customers' fibre optic networks within minutes. In addition, our OTDR is linked to our CRM system to ensure that all measurement data is entered automatically. Automating this process is a first for BeNeLux! We are therefore excited to deploy this time-saving device in our data centers and further expand our services to customers.

Noah Peeters, Field Technician at LCL, followed this process closely, together with Timmy Louis, Account Manager at our supplier CNRood.

Noah Timmy

What exactly is an Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer?

An Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer, or OTDR for short, is a measuring device that sends pulses of light up to 80 km into an optical fibre and makes an analysis based on the returning light. This analysis includes a measurement of the size and spacing of key points in the fibre optic link. Based on the results of the measurements, the OTDR determines what the problem is, in which component it has occurred, and at what point it is located in the connection. All within just a few minutes.

What are the problems that can occur in a fibre optic connection? 

A fibre optic connection is very fragile. This can cause numerous problems. The most common problems in a data center are: broken, dirty or poorly connected connectors; excessively short bending of the cable (macrobending); non-optimal welding; a lack of roundness in the fibre; an optical fibre that has become degraded over time; bit errors due to problems with the light source; etc. This results in a loss of transmission speed, precisely the reason for deploying fibre optics. ISO standards determine the maximum allowable loss in a fibre optic connection. So you have to test every new connection to ensure you are within these standards.


How do we work with the measuring device?

A new fibre optic installation should always be tested first. General loss, reflectance values,... Every standard LCL has to comply with is measured and compared to the European standards. Specifically, we start from our CRM system. We then create a task for our customer. Next, we perform the measurements on the customer's fibre-optic connection. The OTDR is set up for this purpose automatically from the CRM. Thanks to the link between our CRM and the OTDR, the results of the measurements are recorded in our CRM system automatically. Automating this entire process reduces the chance of human error. And we can easily refer back to the measurement results afterwards. Finally, our customers receive a detailed report.

CNRood is the supplier of this measuring device. Timmy Louis, Account Manager: 'LCL is our first customer in the BeNeLux region that decided to link the OTDR to its CRM system. Thanks to this link, all measurement data from the OTDR is entered into their database automatically. So it was also interesting for me to set this up with them!’

What are the advantages of the OTDR for our customers?

We are always working to optimise our operations and services. And the OTDR again offers great added value for our customers. The measuring device allows you to measure much faster and more efficiently than with any other type of measuring device. This is not only convenient; it also enables problems to be diagnosed and therefore resolved more rapidly. And with data transmission, more speed quickly translates into more revenue. Especially when it comes to an essential service.

In short: The OTDR is a time-saving, accurate, efficient and reliable measuring device that speeds up and simplifies troubleshooting in the fibre optic network.

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