Field Test Sets for Provisioning and Maintaining the Copper Infrastructure

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Round 3

I began this Dynatel 965 “replacement campaign” 2 months back with a discussion of the Dynatel 965, a much beloved test set. In fact, this advanced test set outshined others in its class by leaps and bounds so that we continued to believe it could not be beaten. Great marketing Dynatel! However, I believe that all the test sets I’m reviewing as replacement sets are, in fact, well advanced beyond the 965. After all, technology has advanced while prices are, in many cases, a better value.

In my February column, I looked at the Megger HT1000/2. A great set with the right features to get the job done and at an attractive price point.

Now let’s move on to JDSU, a known source for well-crafted products.

The JDSU HST-3000 is developed by a team that knows what they are doing. Some may consider this set as on the more expensive side but as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” This set has many advanced features, but this does require putting in the time to learn about and use these great features.

McCarty_Fig1_032015Copper Testing With the JDSU HST-3000

When first powering on the HST-3000, the technician is ready to start testing using either number keys or arrow keys for navigation.

The DVOM measurement area allows the user to make AC and DC voltage or current measurements in either snap shot measurements or via continuous measurements between all three wires of a pair (Tip-Ring-Ground). These measurements can be displayed all at once or individually with measurements for low and high measurements. Also in this mode, the HST can display resistance (continuous or snapshot view) and POTS current as well as determine the distance to a hard short.

The second item in the HST-3000 menu system (accessed by pressing the number 2 or by the arrow key navigation) is the Opens measurement area. This area determines the electrical length of an open pair for various types of cable, (air core, jelly, pulp, or a custom line type where the capacitance per mile is known) and can perform measurements across Tip-Ring, Tip-Ground and Ring-Ground. The open meter readings compare to the Dynatel 965.

Pressing number 3 on the keypad takes you to the line balance and power influence measurement area. Here you can measure the longitudinal balance of the line (in dB), the amount of power influence on the line (dBrnC) and graphically display a spectrum of any power line harmonics that are coupled into the pair under test. This is very important for solving noise mitigation problems.

The Time Domain Reflectometer (TDR) test application is available by pressing the number 4 on a provisioned HST-3000. The HST-3000 TDR application offers some unique features, such as 3 different distance modes, dual-pair (and crosstalk) measurements, and the Time Varying Gain feature to assist users in understanding the trace being presented. I found that the TDR took a bit of time for me to get used to it. I was spoiled with the 965-auto test feature and its ability to start with a minimum length.

The next application is the load coil measurement app for determining the number of load coils on a line (up to 5) and the distance to the nearest one when the proper gauge is programmed in.

The next test application (labeled Loss/Tones) can send and receive voice band tones to measure loop loss, perform a 3-tone slope test, dial the telephone switch to receive a milliwatt tone, and, with the purchase of an available software option, measure transmission impairments (noise, impulse noise, return loss).

A standalone POTS dialer is the next application available in the list with support for Caller ID. A limited POTS dialer is also available within the DVOM, Opens and Balance/PI measurement applications. The ANI and silent switchman numbers can be programmed in for convenience.

Resistive Fault Locate (RFL) is the next available test application (software option) and is used to locate resistive faults (grounds, shorts, battery crosses) on a cable. Tests are available for a single pair or a separate pair hookup. I have compared the test results and they are the same as the Dynatel 965.

The wideband test application (Wideband TIMS) is an option test application for use above the voice range, providing results up to 30 MHz for wideband loss, wideband noise, impulse noise, and wideband transmission impairment measurements using a WB2 capable SIM. This application also includes an optional spectrum analyzer view with overlays for various technologies (HDSL, T1, etc.) to help identify interference sources such as AM radio, ham radio, and short wave radio.

Many of these tests support and can be supplemented by the Far End Device for remote testing of the pair. Manual FED commands are available to control the FED for trace tones, xDSL tone sweeps, quite terminations, shorts, opens, RFL strapping and others. This allows for double ended testing with one field technician decreasing the time lost running back and forth on the cable route.

By pressing the Auto-Test button on the HST, several complimentary copper test scripts (automated tests) can be accessed including the POTS Close Out Test, the Good Pair Check, and the Wideband Auto Test.

Additional Features

  • Every HST supports some Ethernet testing via the Ethernet TE port (IP, VLAN, Ping, Trace route, FTP).
  • Depending on the module purchased with the HST-3000, the technician can also perform DSL testing (from ADSL up to and including VDSL2 with bonded-vectoring support for both Annex A, Annex B, and others).
  • Other optional modules are available that support T1/E1, T3, GigE, Wi-Fi and optical Ethernet testing all from the same HST-3000.

As I said above, this set has many additional features that demand a higher price tag and more learning time from the tech. However, with the extra features, you may be able to avoid purchasing additional standalone products.

Different telcos, different techs, different OSP challenges, and future technical plans, combined with budget considerations for both new equipment and training, should drive your selection of test sets.

 

Signing off

I hope these product reviews are helpful. If you have questions or comments about any of the sets I have discussed (or any other sets for that matter), please reach out to me: email dmccarty@mccartyinc.com, call 831.818.3930, and please visit my website www.mccartyinc.com. For questions about training, please email scain@mccartyinc.com.

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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.

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