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Home : ITU-T Home : Study Groups : Study Group 15
Question 17/15 – Maintenance and operation of optical fibre cable networks
(Continuation of Question 4/6 and 6/6)


The demand for broadband access services has increased throughout the world in recent years. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) services constitute the most promising approach to providing these services because of their large transmission capacity and cost-effectiveness. The number of FTTH subscribers is increasing rapidly, and a large number of optical fibre cables are being installed daily to meet demand. Therefore, the smooth construction, operation, and cost effective technologies for the maintenance of this network plant has increased considerably in importance.

During the installation and maintenance of optical fibre communication networks, field engineers must first correctly identify a specific fibre from a bundle of fibres to avoid the incorrect cutting and/or connection of an optical fibre at a worksite. Therefore, it is important to investigate functional requirements for optical fibre identification, identification procedures and methods that can be employed without any deterioration in optical communication signals in access networks.

Trunk line communication traffic is also increasing rapidly owing to the increase in FTTH services. An optical fibre line testing system is essential for reducing maintenance costs and improving service reliability in optical fibre networks. Some technologies that are used in trunk lines (e.g. WDM system and EDAF) require additional functions and procedures for optical fibre line testing systems. This Question will study the system requirements that will allow us to achieve the reliable maintenance of the optical cables for trunk lines.

In addition, new telecommunication infrastructure will be deployed using a lot of optical fibres, cables, enclosures, cabinets and passive optical components. Concrete solutions for planning, collecting and managing these items are becoming essential from the point of view of the optical facility operations. It is also important to protect them from disasters in order to provide sustainable telecommunication services.


Questions to be considered in the study include, but are not limited to:

  • What are functional requirements for optical fibre identification without any deterioration in optical communication signals in access networks?
  • What procedures and methods can be employed for optical fibre identification without interrupting optical services during maintenance work on optical access networks?
  • What are functional requirements for an optical fibre line testing system for optical trunk lines?
  • What kinds of reliable technologies can apply to preserve and protect outside plant facilities?
  • Study new solutions for GPS (Global Positioning System) referenced network maps.
  • Study new solutions to monitor critical network elements by means of sensor networks.
  • Do the existing ITU-T Recommendations and handbooks provide an up-to-date coverage of the techniques required to maintain an optical fibre cable infrastructure?


Tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Optical fibre identification for the maintenance of optical access networks (2010)
  • Solutions to monitor critical network elements by means of sensor networks (2011).
  • Use of GPS (Global Positioning System) to create referenced network maps (2011)
  • An optical fibre cable maintenance support, monitoring and testing system for optical fibre cables networks for trunk (2012)
  • To create the state of the art technologies using optical fibre cables and/or ubiquitous sensor networks (USN) for outside plant facility health monitoring (2012)
  • Revision to existing Recommendations, if necessary.



  • L.25, L.40, L.41, L.53, L.64, L.66, L.68, L.69 and L.80


  • 2/15, 7/15, 8/15, 16/15, 18/15 and 19/15

Study Groups:

  • ITU-T SG5 and JCA-IdM

Standardization bodies, forum and consortia:

  • IEC TC86


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Updated : 2008-12-23