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NEC uses AI to detect and locate optical fibre issues by analysing vibrations

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Thu 1 Jul 2021

NEC releases a solution using AI to detect and locate issues in optical fibre by analysing vibrations.

The Optical Fibre Sensing Solution announced by NEC allows communications service providers (CSP) and global optical fibre owners to utilise optical fibre as a sensor. The solution contributes to infrastructure maintenance by using AI to analyse vibrations in the fibre to detect abnormalities, such as fibre damage, and help prevent future damages.

The solution consists of a sensing device attached to one end of the optical fibre, software designed to detect vibrations and external conditions that may cause an abnormality, and a mapping function that accurately displays location information, such as the latitude and longitude of a fibre section.

With the spread of high-speed, high-capacity communications for 5G, the importance of optical fibre has increased, and there is an increase of fibre being installed. This results in a more significant impact of communication failures caused by damage.

“As optical fibre installations increase, it is increasingly difficult for CSP and optical fibre owners to quickly identify damaged areas in the event of a breakage, making it challenging for operators and maintenance personnel to make repairs quickly,” says NEC.

“This solution detects signs of potential fibre cable damage caused by unexpected construction work, deterioration, and other causes, by detecting vibrations that differ from standard conditions, it enables the quick identification and repair of damaged areas by precisely mapping fibre location information.”

NEC says it has examined the possibility of using sensing technology to detect cracks in utility poles. And NEC and Verizon have also conducted joint field experiments of a traffic monitoring system in the U.S., where they confirmed the effectiveness of a traffic monitoring solution for assessing roadway traffic conditions.

“Optical fibre cable networks are becoming increasingly important as 5G becomes more prevalent,” says NEC GM, 1st Network Service Division, Kazuhiro Tagawa.

“We have been working for many years on the practical application of fibre sensing utilising optical fibre networks and are excited to capitalise on this technology to improve the efficiency of network operations.”

In the future, NEC says it will expand the application of this solution and aim to create value across a variety of fields, such as utilising information acquired through wide-area monitoring with existing fibre to enhance smart city services.

The solution features Fibre Cable Cut Prevention and a Fibre Cable Position Locator, providing mapping of fibre locations to identify and repair damages quickly.

 

 

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