Field Test Sets for Provisioning and Maintaining the Copper Infrastructure

0

Round 2

To recap from last month’s column, field technicians use many different test sets from multiple vendors to provision and maintain the copper infrastructure. Last month, I reviewed the test set that seemed to me to offer a good combination of features, dependability, accuracy, price and ease of use: the Dynatel 965AMS.

I also wrote that beginning with the next column, I would begin looking at “replacement” sets given the 965 is no longer produced. In writing about alternative test sets to the 965, I’m hoping that we can begin a dialog about what features you most want to see in your next test set.

This month I am going to review the test set that offers a good combination of features, dependability, accuracy, price and ease of use: Megger’s HT1000/2.

Features of the HT1000/2

The menus are simple and, in almost all cases, they are only 1 screen deep. As with the Dynatel 965AMS, the manual tests are in order or easy to find. The buttons/keys are straightforward; the yellow ones with numbers (a keypad) access the test functions while the blue triangular soft keys make selections from the screen. There are 4 triangular blue keys (up, down, left, right) to move around the screen and a square blue “Enter” key.

The digital multi-meter works well. The VOM functions are accessible with a push of a key. For example, the red, black, and green cords are connected to the cable pair, and when the #1 key is pressed, continuous AC and DC voltage (on the same screen) is measured and displayed. The technician can then select tip to ring, tip to ground, or ring to ground.

The maximum voltage that can be measured with the voltmeter is 300VDC and 250VAC. If the AC or DC voltage is any higher, it is locked out for set protection.

Loop or line current on an active POTS circuit is readily measured at the customer’s Network Interface by pressing the #2 key.

Press the #4 key to test for resistance tip-to-ring, tip-to-ground, and ring-to-ground. To break down galvanic corrosion on cable pairs, a voltage of 150VDC is applied in the Leakage Test by pressing the #3 key.

The #5 key activates the Stress Test that Megger says is a better indicator of pair imbalance than is the Longitudinal Balance test in that Longitudinal Balance varies with power influence while the Stress Test does not.

The Stress Test artificially represents high power influence at a high dBrnC allowing the field technician to calculate the longitudinal balance of the cable pair under test. The reading on the set is subtracted from 90dBrnC and the result should show a longitudinal balance greater than 60dB. In my opinion, I’d like to see the test set do the math for the technician. Then when the results are greater than 60dB, the pair passes the longitudinal balance test; and when the results are less than 60dB, the pair fails the longitudinal balance test.

The #6 key is the open meter function. This also will display capacitance if the technician desires.

The #7 (T&N) key includes transmission testing for Loss, Noise, and Power Influence. If the technician wants to augment the Stress Test, these tests can be done with ease.

The #9 key engages the Auto Test that, while not as comprehensive as that of the 965AMS, fits most needs. The Auto Test Setup (MORE menu, #1 key) allows the technician to select and save up to 8 series of tests. An interesting feature of the HT1000/2’s Auto Test is that it automates incremental pair testing, allows custom naming and/or numbering of up to 200 pairs and stores the results.

To gain access to the Wide-band Spectrum Analyzer, press the * key. The HT1000/2’s approach is straightforward and easy to understand. It extends in steps from ADSL2+ (2.5 MHz) to VDSL2 (33.2 MHz). The set’s Tone Generators are found here for identification tones, control commands for far-end-devices with explanations, as well as wide-band tones.

The HT1000/2’s dual-trace Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR) is accessed by pressing the 0 key. The TDR is comprehensive while the setup is simple. It is a good TDR with minimal clutter on the screen that makes it easier to see faults with very little reflection like a splice. I like their TDR. The usual single trace, dual trace, differential, crosstalk, and intermittent functions are easy to use.

Configuration options such as volume control, setting up the dial pick list, date & time setup, etc., are grouped under the #2 key of the “MORE” menu.

While 965AMS includes several tests in a submenu of the POTS key, the HT1000/2 has separate keys for most of these on the MORE menu of its 2-screen menu:

The #8 key is a Load Coil Counter.

The #3 key is Caller ID.

The #4 key is a capacitance-based Ringer Counter.

The #6 key is a Voice-band Spectrum Analyzer. The control commands for far-end-devices are located here as well as in the Wide-band Spectrum Analyzer. My frustrations with the Voice-band Spectrum Analyzer is that it reads only in –dBm. It should also show results in dBrnC, which is very important when chasing high power influence.

The #7 key of the MORE menu accesses the Resistance Bridge / Resistive Fault Locator. It is simple to set up and use. It can measure the distance accurately to resistance faults up to 20 Meg Ohms.

The #8 key activates the ground test that measures the resistance between the local ground and that of the Central Office.

The 0 key of the MORE menu accesses the Layer 2 and Layer 3 xDSL tests. Layer 2 statistics are displayed on usage, capacity, errors, power, attenuation, “bin” contents, etc. The HT1000/2 allows the technician to emulate xDSL network elements and can, for example, “ping” through the network to test Layer 3 functionality.

I feel the HT1000/2 is an excellent value proposition in that it is easy to use with all the important features and doesn’t include unnecessary features that go unused and create a longer learning curve and additional cost. Several versions of the set are available depending on whether you need copper wire analysis without xDSL, or copper wire analysis with xDSL, Vectored xDSL, and/or Bonded xDSL.

The column in next month’s issue will be “Field Test Sets for Provisioning and Maintaining the Copper Infrastructure — Round 3.”

 

Signing off

Please call me, email me, or text me about your test sets and what you think you will need in the next set when you are in the market. What features and tests are on test sets that you don’t need? The vendors want to know what you think and so do I! Call 831.818.3930 or send an email to dmccarty@mccartyinc.com.

Related

About Author

Don McCarty is the OSP EXPERT columnist for ISE magazine, discussing the issues around provisioning, testing, and maintaining copper for all services from POTs to IPTV. Don is also president of and the lead trainer for McCarty Products, a technical training and products company training field technicians, cable maintenance, installation repair, and Central Office technicians and managers. For more information, email dmccarty@mccartyinc.com or visit www.mccartyinc.com.

Comments are closed.