NEC launches Optical Fiber Sensing Solution using AI

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NEC Corporation announced 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 toutilize 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.