Optical Fiber Sensing Solution using AI

NEC Corporation announced that it has begun sales of the “NEC Intelligent Optical Fiber Sensing Solution,” a solution that allows Communications Service Providers (CSP) and optical fiber owners from around the world to utilize optical fiber as a sensor. This solution contributes to infrastructure maintenance by using AI to analyze vibrations detected with optical fibers, thereby enabling the detection of abnormalities, such as fiber damage, and helping to prevent future damages.

This solution utilizes NEC’s optical fiber sensing technology, which is one of the first technologies of its kind, to enable sensing from existing optical fibers that are conventionally used for communications.

In addition to a sensing device attached to one end of the optical fiber, this solution consists of software with a function that detects 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 fiber section.

In recent years, with the spread of high-speed, high-capacity communications for 5G, the importance of optical fiber has increased, and more fiber is continually being installed. As a result, there is a growing impact from communications failures caused by damaged fibers. CSP and optical fiber owners need a system to support the efficient maintenance and management of fiber. In addition, as optical fiber installations increase, it is increasingly difficult for CSP and optical fiber owners to quickly identify damaged areas in the event of fiber breakage, making it challenging for operators and maintenance personnel to quickly make repairs.

This solution, however, detects signs of potential fiber cable damage caused by unexpected construction work, deterioration, etc., by detecting vibrations that differ from normal conditions, and also enables quick identification and repair of damaged areas by precise mapping of fiber location information.

NEC has already examined the possibility of using optical fiber sensing technology to detect cracks in utility poles. Moreover, NEC and Verizon have conducted joint field experiments of a traffic monitoring system in the United States, where the companies confirmed the effectiveness of a traffic monitoring solution* for assessing roadway traffic conditions. This is in addition to the companies also verifying the effectiveness of the new NEC Intelligent Optical Fiber Sensing Solution in the field.

Optical fiber cable networks are becoming increasingly important as 5G becomes more prevalent. We have been working for many years on the practical application of fiber sensing utilizing optical fiber networks, and are excited to capitalize on this technology in order to improve the efficiency of network operations,” said, Kazuhiro Tagawa, General Manager, 1st Network Service Division, NEC Corporation.

In the future, NEC will expand the application of this solution and aims to create new value across a variety of fields, such as utilizing information acquired through wide-area monitoring with existing fibers to enhance the services of smart cities.

Solution Features

Fiber Cable Cut Prevention – Prevents fiber damage by detecting abnormal vibrations
By analyzing vibrations detected by the fiber, it is possible to automatically detect vibration sources, such as construction machinery, that may cut the fiber. This helps to prevent accidental fiber damage by identifying unusual vibrations caused by construction, etc.

Fiber Cable Position Locator – Accurate mapping of fiber locations allows for quick identification and repair of damages

The exact location of a fiber section can be conveniently mapped, allowing users to quickly identify damaged areas in the event of a failure. This helps when an abnormality is detected by sending an alert to an operator in real time, thereby supporting efficient repair work through accurate instructions from operators to maintenance personnel.

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