Fiber Optic Fault Monitor (FOFM)


Diagnosing failures in fiber optic links for telecommunications companies was the topic of this project conducted by a graduate student at Pontifical Catholic University, School of Computer Engineering and Telecommunications, in the Dominican Republic.  The project implemented was based upon “off-the-shelf” commercial products – adding the interface readout, and user functions, to make a demonstration of a practical use-case.

This is a complex problem faced by CSPs (Communications Services Providers) throughout the world, and one that remains a challenge to this day.  How was Joe going to tackle this problem?  Why, with his Fiber Optic Fault Monitor (FOFM), of course….

The FOFM is a portable piece of equipment capable of connecting to the optical fiber that you want to monitor, and in turn, through integration with an internet web graphic interface, able to graphically locate on a map any detected optical fiber fault. The data captured from the FOFM would then be transmitted to a server that stores the data in the cloud, ensuring the security and handling of this information.

Finally, the system would use a mapping application to display the specific coordinates of where the fault occurred.  Then, automatically notify the user via an instant messaging application of the existence, and location, of the fault, in order to facilitate rapid diagnosis and repair.

Just one problem… where was Joe going to get a small, inexpensive Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR), which was the key element necessary to make his FOFM a reality?  Like any of us researching a new topic, Joe immediately went to the Internet.  A few keystrokes later, Joe had found his way to the Optical Zonu Corporation (OZC) web site (

Since the OZC web site is so well organized, Joe quickly found his solution – the Micro-OTDR SFP transceivers developed, and marketed by OZC.  Corresponding with the acting PLM for the Micro-OTDR products by text, Joe presented his case, and need for two (2) Micro-OTDR SFPs in order to build his FOFM, and complete his thesis presentation.  As the acting PLM, I was stunned by the sophistication of this request from Joe.

It turned out that there was a pair of Micro-OTDR SFPs available to lend to Joe, to help complete his work.  But more than that, an OZC Customer, the Maryland Research and Education Network (MDREN), came into the picture.  The MDREN Senior Network Engineer, Mike Gemeny, is a huge fan of the Micro-OTDR, having himself implemented a “Pin on a Map” application for the MDREN.  In his own words, “a teacher at heart,” Mike Gemeny volunteered to coach Joe, who was busily preparing for his thesis presentation, and defense.

The end-result?

Thanks to the technology of the OZC Micro-OTDR SFP transceivers, it was possible for the FOFM to obtain the full distance of the test optical fiber link, and to instantly detect, locate, report, and display faults.  To conclude, it is fair to say that the project met Joe’s goals, and the expectations of his “jury.”

Best of all, Joe graduated with honors, having successfully defended the first fiber optics thesis at Pontifical Catholic University, School of Computer Engineering and Telecommunications, the first ever in the Dominican Republic!

For more information on the Optical Zonu Micro-OTDR SFP please contact me directly

Michael J. Hartmann
VP | Business Development | Digital Products
Optical Zonu Corp
(D) 818-579-9592
[email protected]