NBN Co is using 250 Optical Time-Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) units nationwide to monitor the quality of signal transiting 890 fibre links across the country.

While perhaps pushing the boundaries of what might be considered an internet of things project, the network builder said it launched its remote monitoring program for its transit network a year ago.

“OTDR devices allow constant remote monitoring of this backbone network by sending light pulses through fibre cables to measure the health of the connection,” the company said this week.

“With the successful deployment of the equipment, NBN Co can now quickly identify and monitor the location and nature of a fault – should one occur – via the Network Operations Centre in Melbourne.

“This means that NBN Co’s field team no longer need to physically be on site to verify reported faults. In some cases, it used to take more than 24 hours for a field worker to investigate a fault on site; this report is now almost instantaneous, even for very remote areas.”

The company recently installed OTDRs on a 1000km link between Darwin and Nhulunbuy, managing to complete the project before the wet season and despite the attention of local wildlife.