Is someone using your fiber for target practice? Sounds like you need ALM

While it may seem bizarre, disruption due to stray bullets is an actual concern for broadband infrastructure. Fortunately, with our ALM fiber monitoring solution, you can rapidly locate and fix the damage.
Target practice board

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and Sprout Fiber Internet’s Mark Freeman was in his backyard cooking steaks and enjoying a gathering with family and friends. Just as he was about to begin serving up the food, he felt a familiar buzz in his pocket. 

Recognizing the ID, he reluctantly accepted the call. The person on the other end of the line, a colleague, apologized for the disturbance, explaining that his attention was required. The company’s 100G fiber backbone had just gone down … before immediately coming back online again. 

Momentary glitches do occur and many times an operator would carry on with their day without investigating further. But just then Mark’s phone pinged with an alert from Adtran’s ALM system. This wasn’t just a routine hiccup; the detailed email from ALM highlighted an actual problem that needed to be nipped in the bud quickly. 

Despite the issue having interrupted his family time, Mark was grateful it wasn’t a weekday. That would mean many more people working, either remotely or on their company premises. And given broadband’s integral role in modern business operations, most of those people would be dependent on a reliable internet connection to one degree or another.

Rapid, detailed alerts

But whatever the day, Mark was confident of a quick resolution because, on hanging up, he noticed Adtran’s ALM in-service fiber monitoring platform had already sent a notification to his phone with the exact coordinates of the fiber issue marked on a map.

Logging on through his laptop to investigate further, he saw ALM had also provided information about the backscatter signal and the amount of attenuation (signal loss) the network was experiencing. Just a glance at the red dip in the graph indicated the fiber backbone had indeed failed for a brief moment before coming back online.

ALM information
Graphic of ALM’s attenuation graph, highlighting a 14db loss indicating a non-critical but necessary investigation

Mark needed to identify the cause of the interruption, something that could only be achieved by paying a visit to the coordinates ALM had instantly supplied. His maintenance team would also need to restore the resulting degraded signal, an issue that only ALM, with its continuous passive monitoring capability, could have detected. Had the post-failure attenuation not been identified, another similar event may have resulted in a total loss of light on the fiber.

With service providers often working to stringent service level agreements (SLAs), they need to know where and how badly fiber is compromised. In Mark’s case, because Sprout Fiber Internet had invested in the ALM platform, he was informed instantly. A truck roll was dispatched to the precise location of the impacted fiber, and Mark returned to his family barbecue safe in the knowledge that the problem would soon be resolved.

Bullet-assure your fiber network

What Sprout Fiber Internet’s team found on arrival to the site was alarming. They discovered shotgun shells under a 144-count AFL fiber peppered with holes, and they even found a pellet protruding from the fiber’s casing.

Fiber line

A closer inspection revealed the extent of the damage to the backbone connection. Several fibers were not only kinked and twisted but also broken. The turmoil had even reached the buffer tubes, with some of them fractured, impacting the backbone’s integrity. 

The presence of ALM was invaluable in this scenario, as it promptly identified the affected fibers, indicating a clear need for repair and maintenance. This level of insight was crucial for the team to address the damage effectively and restore full functionality to the network.

Monitoring live fiber saves time, money and your reputation

Unfortunately, incidents, like this are far from unheard of in the US. Under a LinkedIn post where Mark details the incident, one user describes a similar situation in which his company’s fiber was shot through by a man firing his gun randomly into the air after being involved in an argument.

Bullet casings on the ground

Whether your fiber services have been impacted by carelessness with firearms, harsh environmental conditions or just about any other event you can think of, Adtran’s ALM can be relied on to help quickly discover the precise location of the issue.

And if, like in Mark’s case, someone tries to blast a hole through your fiber backbone on your day off. Well, just be glad ALM is there, probing your fiber network 24/7 so that if — or more likely when it identifies a fault — you can rapidly and efficiently restore services before getting back to your weekend barbeque with peace of mind.

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