By Liu Huaqing
Optical distribution networks (ODNs), thanks to their passive nature, are not easy to operate or maintain. Currently, ODN pipe resource information (dumb resources), which is also used for service activation and maintenance, is not effectively managed; this brings about numerous O&M challenges.
ODN passivity hinders O&M
ODN pipe resource data accuracy is difficult to maintain during the O&M process thanks to database update failures caused by neglect or misoperation. The average error rate for resource data exceeds 20%. Operators must repeatedly clean up and rectify the data, which involves a plethora of optical equipment, resources, man hours, and headaches.
ODN O&M processes such as label identification and port search are all done by hand, which makes fiber connection efficiency rather low. Further exacerbating the situation is the complexity of collaboration and communication between the relevant departments. Considering the massive number of cables and labels involved, the search for a particular port is an ordeal.
For routine checking and fault location, O&M personnel often need to determine the connections between certain optic fibers. As fibers are labeled manually, these labels are often unclear. Resolution may involve a call back to HQ or an onsite guesstimate; neither is optimal as far as O&M efficiency is concerned.
The passive nature of ODN infrastructure is clearly the culprit of all of the above difficulties with ODN O&M; automation would seem the answer.
iODN makes O&M quick & easy
The Huawei iODN solution is designed to manage and simplify the O&M process. By adding certain smart elements to compensate for an ODN's passive nature, this solution smartens management and simplifies deployment, effectively cutting management and operating costs for operators.
By reading eID optical distribution frame (iODF), fiber distribution terminal (iFDT), and fiber allocation terminal (iFAT) data, iODN O&M enables intelligent management and data consistency for optical fibers, including data related to port state, optical route, and fiber connection relationship, thereby ensuring support for service provisioning and troubleshooting.
Each eID contains a globally-unique identifier, similar to a MAC address, as well as comprehensive information on individual optical fiber sections, which may include optical routing, sequential location of a certain fiber, and information on the optical splitter or distribution module connected to a certain fiber.
Huawei iODN's O&M tools include the ODN management system, the iField proprietary tool, the N2510 OLS, and the U2000 access network management system (NMS). Each works with the other to increase ODN O&M efficiency.
The U2000 ODN NMS forms the very core, as it manages ODN equipment, maintains resource data integrity, provisions services for fiber connection, and handles online query. It also serves as the interface between iODN and the upper-layer operational support systems, including the platforms for orders & resource management and the alarm system.
The iField tool is a professional handheld instrument, used primarily for guidance of onsite fiber connection, field data gathering, and field query, all of which significantly enhance the efficiency of field operations.
With support from smart equipment such as the iODF, iFDT, and iFAT, the ODN NMS interacts directly with various devices such as smart ODN nodes (if active) through available management channels. If said nodes are passive, they must be connected through iField, which provides power supply and communications channels, so their information can still be reported to the NMS in a timely manner.
The iField also plays a crucial role at key points in the closed-loop data management process to ensure data integrity. When connected to a device, iField automatically checks onsite data against instruction ticket information and gives a prompt if any error is found. If the error has no impact on the connection process, it will continue while the error is reported for resolution at a later time. If the iField determines that operation personnel are not following ticket instructions, it will give them an immediate prompt.
The ODN NMS can detect all data changes and ensure data integrity in a timely manner, be it through changes to the instruction ticket distributed by the scheduling system or onsite changes in fiber connection. Even when O&M personnel operate other passive devices, iField will automatically report changes when finally connected to said devices, thereby ensuring timely data update.
The ODN NMS will also make timely reports concerning any data changes to the upper-layer resource system. This ensures data integrity for the resource system, which provides correct data intended for service provisioning and scheduling.
High-efficiency fiber connection
The connection process begins by first connecting the ODN NMS with the integrated scheduling and resource management systems to obtain instruction information and ensure data accuracy. The NMS then issues electronic orders to the iField's operators.
After onsite personnel connect iField, it will guide the connection process automatically. Throughout the entire procedure, iField directs smart ODN power conservation devices that will switch on port indicators based on instructions; onsite personnel need no longer search for the targeted port by hand. When faults occur, iField can be used to identify the standby port for a particular port, restoring services as quickly as possible.
Upon the completion of operations, iField will automatically report the results to the NMS, closing the loop for the connection process.
Support for onsite troubleshooting
With iField, onsite personnel can easily get a clear picture of optical connection data and data for the entire optical routing process by inputting data for any single port or user along the route. Time need no longer be wasted during searching or checking with the network management center, which still may not guarantee data accuracy.
Huawei iODN enables easy and manageable O&M for an ODN. After its pilot deployment at China Telecom's Xuancheng branch in Anhui province, iODN facilitated a 58% reduction in working hours devoted to onsite fiber (48-cord) connection.
Huawei iODN features rapid deployment & service provisioning, as well as visualized intelligent management, all of which have won high praise in the industry. At the Broadband World Forum Europe 2011 in Paris, Huawei iODN became the first of its kind among passive network solutions to win the InfoVision Award for its eID and intelligent network management. So far, iODN standards-related documents have been completely accepted by the IETF, while other players across the industry chain have jumped on the bandwagon of intelligent ODN. With industry collaboration, the reality of manageable and easy O&M for ODNs is within reach.