Safeguarding Your Critical Connectivity

Optical cabling supports the communication infrastructure of our connected planet. Inherently fragile by nature, this same optical cable is susceptible to water ingress, misplaced construction digs, rodent infestations, security intrusions, and many other potential hazards.
As you can imagine, this can be a highly challenging scenario with the often-complex construction of fibre-optic WAN links supporting today’s Datacentre Interconnects. Waiting until there is a problem leaves the datacentre owner open to great risk, both financial and in terms of image, so proactively taking steps to better manage connectivity and maintain network availability is advantageous.

Is there a solution to help me mitigate these risks?

A good option to consider is a technology known as Monitoring.
In its most effective form, monitoring solutions integrate both feature-rich software tools and connected hardware devices to form a real-time management system for those critical connections on which we depend.

SmartOTU

How would it help me fix a physical fault?

So, the goal here is to shorten MTTR (Mean-Time-To-Repair). By notifying the system administrator in real-time, and accurately pinpointing the geographic location of the fault, the process of recovery/repair can begin immediately and be performed far more efficiently.

What if I suspect that elements of a link are degrading?

Even if you do not suffer an obvious fault, these monitoring systems can support your fault-prevention strategies by allowing you to proactively trend and analyse attenuation (loss) and other fibre optic performance metrics over time. What this does is to let you know if elements of your connectivity are losing their effectiveness, even before you start to encounter service issues. This degradation could be as a result of ambient temperature cycles, or cables being pulled or crushed, thereby reducing transmission performance.

Can it help with my security?

Absolutely it can.  Fibre optic security concerns have become increasingly relevant as more intrusions and data theft incidents are reported each year. Although fibre optic cabling is generally perceived as being more secure than conventional cabling, fibre-tapping incidents continue to challenge authorities and fibre monitoring system capabilities. The first recommendation is always to encrypt your data, but you may still find incidents where unwanted parties are trying to apply optical taps, seeking to steal and interpret data streams. Here the system will detect the often-subtle changes in optical behaviour which would indicate the presence and location of a potential tapping incident.

Do I need to deploy such a system all at once, or can it scale with my network needs?

You might find that starting with standalone deployment of devices such as OTUs (Optical Termination Units) that can be deployed and managed individually will be an effective way to start seeing benefits in terms of visibility. These are very much a plug-and-play solution with very little user setup and configuration required to begin managing your links. As the system grows, it may become more helpful to opt for the complete ONMSi deployment which centralises the management of all your nodes network-wide into an ONMSi server.

SmartOTU

Summary

A remote fibre monitoring system enables the oversight of an entire fibre optic network, including dark fibre, from a central location. Using this comprehensive method, the performance of the network can be continuously evaluated, and Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) can be minimized. Integration options including HTTPS and SNMP allow further flexibility when it comes to how you take control of your new monitoring capability.
If you would like to learn more about VIAVI’s standalone Smart Optical Test Unit (OTU) range or the centralised Optical Network Monitoring System (ONMSi), we would encourage you to spend some time here: