Fiber-Tapping Detection and Intrusion Detection
with the ONMSi Optical Network Monitoring System
& SmartOTU by Viavi

Perimetral Security IMAGE

Fiber networks bring unprecedented speed and bandwidth dimensions to today’s electronically-connected world. However, these technological advances also expose data to a wide range of network threats including hackers and corporate/foreign espionage, to name a few.

Corporate and government network owners must increasingly mitigate threats of data hijacking on public, private, and secure networks.

The Challenge


One significant threat to data on optical communication networks is fiber tapping. Once someone accesses fibers in a cable or transition/splice point, they can attenuate them by physically bending the fiber strand—and removing and capturing only a small percentage of light can mean significant data theft.

The impact on network performance is often negligible and may not disrupt data transmission, so operators may never even be aware of the crime.
Similarly, enterprises are exposed more and more to sabotage acts and intrusions in protected areas where CCTV and other traditional security settings may not be enough. In order to increment security levels in a protected area, Fiber Monitoring can be also used in perimeter intrusion applications, where security managers can easily identify intruders and exact point of the intrusion is the secured area.

The Solution


National Security Agency (NSA) document NSTISSI No.7003 guides protecting wireline and optical fiber protective distribution systems (PDS) to transmit unencrypted, classified national security information (NSI).

According to the NSA, operators should implement PDS in three ways:

  • Hardened carrier: physical protection (locked enclosure, cable in concrete, etc.).
  • Alarmed carrier: protection by monitoring and alarm system.
  • Continuously viewed carrier: staff monitoring of cable.

As an alarmed carrier solution, the ONMSi and/or SmartOTU by Viavi are widely selected and deployed because they:

  • Accurately detect the physical location of fiber taps in less than one minute.
  • Are sufficiently simple for non-fiber experts to operate it.
  • In case of perimeter intrusions, it’s able to identify the exact point of the intrusion in seconds.

The Benefits

ONMSi and SmartOTU protects networks from fiber tapping and perimeter intrusion detection with a number of advanced capabilities:

  • Continuous monitoring enables threat identification within minutes of incursion, minimizing reaction time.
  • Sensitive optics ensure that even the smallest loss changes are detected.
  • Scalability permits flexible deployment expansion as threat risks evolve.
  • Geospatial mapping software enables more accurate and faster threat response.
  • Remote location monitoring reveals threats that are difficult to reach by physical inspection.


With the proliferation of data moved to electronic storage in recent years, data security concerns are now part of our daily lives. Fiber tapping to hijack private and government data is increasing as a threat as fiber deployments increase, and even the most sophisticated and secure networks are at risk.
Furthermore, the need of enterprises and government entities for protecting highly secured areas is increasing, and Fiber Monitoring applications help to enhance the security levels and prevent intrusions that may put companies or data at risk.