How network automation helps fiber technicians work smarter

1st June, 2022

In a world increasingly reliant on a fast, safe and secure telecommunications network, fiber optic technology is in huge demand. Fiber optic internet speeds are up to 20 times faster than standard cable internet and more reliable too, thanks to its ability to handle higher volumes of data and more users, with much lower risk of ‘throttling’. 

Businesses love fiber optic broadband for its bigger bandwidth and its stability; something that’s important to facilitating remote working patterns and making sure corporate communications networks can extend beyond the office. Emergency services love it for providing speed and reliability when it matters most, and households love it because it can support multiple entertainment devices and provide unrivaled download and streaming speeds.

The roll-out of fiber optic cable networks is happening fast

Little wonder then that service providers are under such pressure to provide what is fast becoming an essential service. Fiber optic roll-out programs are ramping up across the USA, UK and Europe, with initiatives including the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in the US and the UK’s Project Gigabit gaining pace. Wide-scale fiber roll-out is a complex task where mistakes can be costly –  and what all providers understand is that the speed and success of any roll-out will depend on two things: powerful technology and capable teams.

Thankfully, advancements in network automation now mean that one can support the other. For the fiber technicians who are working hard to install, monitor and maintain our fiber optic infrastructure, network automation technology means fewer repetitive tasks, more time to focus on complex issues and fast access to the insights needed to fix potential problems before they cause disruption on the network. Let’s take a closer look at how network automation is helping fiber optic technicians work smarter.

  • Fast fault identification

Fiber optic cable presents technicians with very different issues to copper wire cable. The installation process is very different, as is the troubleshooting process – cables are much more fragile and faults can be harder to fix. When broken fibers, faulty splices or damaged connectors cause signal loss, technicians need to be able to quickly identify where the problem has occurred. Cables can span long distances, meaning locating the problem might create a real logistical challenge, even with the best cable testing tools on the market. 

Network automation changes this. It empowers service providers to locate and identify network faults as they happen, meaning technicians can be dispatched to the right place first time, armed with the correct information and right tools they need to do their job quickly and effectively.

  • Getting ahead of the problem

Proactive maintenance of fiber optic cable networks is the best way to give users the experience they desire – one free of interruption or inconvenience. Unfortunately, cable testing and maintenance programs are time-consuming and expensive to execute, creating a burden for already overstretched teams of technicians. 

Network automation changes this. It improves network availability and makes disruption-free service levels a possibility by providing the ability to continually monitor entire networks in real-time. Once issues are flagged, they can often be dealt with remotely. This frees up valuable time for technicians to deal with the jobs where their skills are most needed – and makes sure that they’re on the scene just-in-time, before smaller maintenance jobs become much bigger problems.

Boost your efficiency with the best fiber tools in the business

While network automation supports technicians to work smarter, having the right tools for the job once they’re on site is still the best way to make sure they can work safely and efficiently. When you’re working on fiber optic cable, you need tools that are lightweight, easy to hold and able to provide pin-point accuracy. The Miller® range from Ripley Tools has been custom designed to do just that. Built for speed and precision, and recognised globally as a superior choice, they have been created in close collaboration with fiber optic cable manufacturers – and designed and manufactured by the skilled engineers at Ripley Labs, USA. Discover the Miller® range of fiber optic preparation tools.

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Spotlight on: innovations set to change the fiber industry

25th January, 2022

As a growing number of applications come to rely on fiber optic networks, the fiber industry is evolving at a rapid pace. This means that engineers are already facing new challenges and opportunities in their day-to-day work, and as rollout gains momentum, new innovations are set to change the way they work even further.