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Level 3 Communications : Patent Issued for Apparatus, System and Method for Network Monitoring (USPTO 9118414)

09/02/2015 | 05:45pm US/Eastern

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- Level 3 Communications, LLC (Broomfield, CO) has been issued patent number 9118414, according to news reporting originating out of Alexandria, Virginia, by VerticalNews editors.

The patent's inventors are Storey, Jeffrey Kendall (Boulder, CO); Waters, Jr., John F. (Boulder, CO); Dugan, Andrew (Superior, CO); Paredes, Salvador (Broomfield, CO); Ratterree, Gary (Louisville, CO).

This patent was filed on August 22, 2012 and was published online on August 25, 2015.

From the background information supplied by the inventors, news correspondents obtained the following quote: "Optical communication networks often require monitoring and testing of the various fiber links and/or optical pathways that make up the optical network to ensure the validity, continuity, and status of such fiber links and pathways. For example, optical links require monitoring to detect disconnections, physical breaks, and faults so that corrective action can be taken. It is often the case that service providers must install expensive equipment, such as termination equipment, at a customer's site to monitor its optical network links and fibers. Alternatively, optical network service providers may dispatch a maintenance crew to a customer's location for testing and monitoring purposes, which is both expensive and time-consuming.

"U.S. Pat. No. 7,778,554 describes a cost-effective way to monitor optical network links. Generally speaking and referring to FIG. 1 of the '554 patent reproduced here as FIG. 1 (prior art), the technology discussed in the '554 patent involves over-coupling an amplitude modulated signal onto a transmission line 1, such as on a transmission fiber 3, emanating from a first end of the transmission line at a transmitter/receiver device 7. At a second end of the transmission link, the small amplitude modulated portion of the overall signal on the transmission line is then returned to the first end of the transmission line along a receive fiber 5. The second end of the transmission line includes two coupling elements (13,15) that collectively remove the small amplitude modulated signal from the transmit line and then superimpose the amplitude modulated signal on the receive line for return to the transmitter/receiver 7 at the first end of the transmission link. A detector device 11 then compares the small signal to a threshold to determine if the received signal level is too low.

"Notably, the solution set out in the '554 patent can only determine if there is an error in the entirety of the path to and from the originating end of the transmission line. Stated differently, because the signal is only monitored for an error at the originating end of the path, the signal must traverse both the transmit and the receive paths and there is not a way to isolated those paths. Hence, there is no mechanism whereby an error can be isolated to the transmit line or the receive line. Moreover, there is no mechanism to determine the signal strength at the receiving end and thus only of the transmit line. It is with these observations in mind, among others, that various aspects of the present disclosure were conceived and developed."

Supplementing the background information on this patent, VerticalNews reporters also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "One aspect of the present disclosure involves an optical test device apparatus including at least one optical filter coupled with a first optical fiber. The first optical filter is configured to allow an optical signal on the first optical fiber to pass from the first optical fiber to a second optical fiber. The optical test device further includes at least one monitoring device coupled with the at least one optical filter. The monitoring device is configured to receive a portion of the optical signal to test the optical signal. Finally, the optical test device includes a first switch in communication with the first optical fiber. The switch is configured to switch the optical signal on the first optical fiber to a third optical fiber for loop-back testing.

"In another aspect, the optical test device, or a system incorporating the same, includes an optical device to provide the signal to the optical test device. The signal may include data that initiates a loop back test. Further, the monitoring device may be configured to detect a power level of the portion of the optical signal and compare the detected power level of the portion of the optical signal with a threshold power level.

"Aspects of the present disclosure may also involve a testing method including the operations of receiving an optical signal at an optical test device, which may include at least one monitoring device and a first switch. The method may further include receiving, at the monitoring device, a portion of the optical signal to test the optical signal, and altering the state of the optical test device from a first state (e.g., pass through) to a second state (e.g., loop back) when a signal is detected at the optical device.

"Yet another aspect of the present disclosure involves an optical system including an optical test device. The optical test device includes a first optical filter coupled with a first optical fiber. The first optical fiber carries a test signal on at least one wavelength carried by the first optical fiber. The filter is configured to allow the test signal to pass from the first optical fiber to a second optical filter of the optical test device. The second optical filter is configured to place the test signal on a second optical fiber. The system further includes a network device coupled with the second optical fiber. The network device includes a third filter configured to receive the test signal if it is present on the second optical fiber, and determine a characteristic of at least one of the first optical fiber or the second optical fiber.

"Finally, aspects of the present disclosure also include a method of testing an optical connection between devices. The method, in one possible implementation, includes the operation of receiving, at a remote device, a test signal on a particular wavelength of a plurality of wavelengths carried by a first optical fiber. The method further includes returning the test signal on a second optical fiber where the test signal is returned on the particular wavelength. Finally, the method includes determining a characteristic of at least the first optical fiber or the second optical fiber at a second device.

"These and other aspects of the present disclosure are discussed in more detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings."

For the URL and additional information on this patent, see: Storey, Jeffrey Kendall; Waters, Jr., John F.; Dugan, Andrew; Paredes, Salvador; Ratterree, Gary. Apparatus, System and Method for Network Monitoring. U.S. Patent Number 9118414, filed August 22, 2012, and published online on August 25, 2015. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9118414.PN.&OS=PN/9118414RS=PN/9118414

Keywords for this news article include: Fiber Optic Network, Level 3 Communications LLC.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2015, NewsRx LLC

(c) 2015 NewsRx LLC, source Science Newsletters

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