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FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Curb) Test Methods & Topology

nbn™ FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Curb) Test Methods and Topology

We are here to assist you in understanding the nbn™ FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Curb) Testing requirements, providing specialised test equipment, safety equipment, and tools to Install and Maintain the nbn™ FTTC Fibre and Copper infrastructure and Network

TMG has supplied over $30 million+ of solutions to NBN Telecommunication Contractors for the Installation and Maintenance of Telstra/nbn™ Copper Telephone lines, ADSL & VDSL services, FTTP (Fibre-to-the-Premises), FTTB (Fibre-to-the-Basement), FFTN (Fibre-to-the-Node), and FTTC (Fibre-to-the-Curb).

Page Contents


Network Topology

Installation and Maintenance Testing Methods

When installing a new optical network it's imperative that a "baseline record" of optical link quality is recorded measuring optical loss characteristics of all links, and optical power levels. Creating a "baseline" results assist in maintaining, and troubleshooting issues that may arise after end users are connected to the network.


Testing Tools

Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) Testing

In nbn™'s Distribution Fibre Network (DFN) and Local Fibre Network (LFN), Uni-directional testing is performed using an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR) to characterise the optical link at both 1310nm and 1625nm wavelengths.

An OTDR sends thousands of pulses of light into a fibre at these wavelengths to create a Trace. This trace shows "events" in optical cable, relating to optical length, splice loss, and "macro bending".

So why test at both 1310nm and 1625nm wavelengths?
By comparing the Trace of the 1310nm and 1625nm this highlights macro bending. Macrobend loss refers to losses induced in bends in the fibre predominately caused when manipulating the physical fibre inside splice closures - Breakout Joint Location (BJL), Flexible Joint Location (FJL) and Distribution Joint Location (DJL).

For more detailed information, we would recommend reading "Macrobend Detection Using an OTDR"

Smart Link Mapper

The VIAVI Smart Link Mapper (SLM) that comes as standard on the all VIAVI OTDRs gives a block diagram overview of the trace. This excellent function helps the user breakdown the trace with icons for Splitters, connectors and bends.

The VIAVI MTS-2000 or MTS-4000 is the only OTDR currently on the market that will display the trace and SLM view on the screen at the same time.

Smart Assistant

The OTDR settings need to be changed depending on where you are testing on the Distribution or Local Fibre Network. Smart Assistant allows the user to select the section they are working on and will automatically configure the OTDR to the NBN documents.

Testing Through Splitters

The NBN Architecture 3 Network now comprises of Splitters which are housed in the FJL, BJL or the SMP. These splitters can be problematic for taking OTDR traces. If the OTDR is only designed to test from point to point then you will have errors with the results given from the OTDR.

The Viavi MTS-2000 and MTS-4000 can be configured to test through the splitters allowing the user to test from the DPU all the way back to the exchange if required.


Launch Leads - What are they and why are they used?

Launch leads are an essential accessory to be used with the OTDR when testing a Fibre Network.

The launch lead places the Fibre under test far enough from the connector of the OTDR to prevent any errors caused by a possible dead zone.

For NBN a minimum of 150 metre Fibre Launch Lead must be used. and for 1000 metres for other carriers such as Telstra.

Connecting to Optitap / Optitip ports for Testing

If you need to connect a PON meter or OTDR to the Multiport then you will need a OptiTap Adaptor. Your choice is a SCA/ HC Male and a SCA/ HC Female adapter.


PON (Passive Optical Network) Meter

Why and where are they used?


Fibre End Face Inspection

90% of faults in the fibre network are caused by bad connections.

This could be caused by a bad splice or a contaminated connector. As per the NBN document NBN-TE-CTO-376. It is vital; that the female and male side of any fibre run are cleaned and inspected (however new or old the fibre or connector is) before mating together or irreversible damage is caused causing more time and money to resolve.


For Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC) you will need to Inspect ALL of the following;

  • the Ribbon 12F Optitip, (see below)
  • the Opti Tap Femaie / Male of the Bulkhead connector (see below), and
  • the single fibre SC/APC drop cable being terminated at the DPU.

Specialised Optitap and Optitip Inspection Probe Tips


Fusion Splicing

Splicing is required at each Splitter in the Fibre in the Local Fibre Network (LFN) and Distribution Fibre Network (DFN) parts of the Network.

Whether you are splicing Ribbon Fibre in the Distribution Fibre Network (DFN) or the de-ribbonised Fibre in the Local Fibre Network (LFN) it is important to choose a splicer with high accuracy (Low Insertion Loss) and that is quick and easy to use.

Local Fibre Network (LFN)

Single Core Alignment Splicing is required

To carry out splicing at the FJL or the BJL the Ribbon Fibre needs to be firstly de-ribbonised into single fibres. Each Fibre needs to be prepared, cleaved, spliced with precision to ensure minimum loss over the splice. The Sumitomo 72C uses the latest in technology to line up the fibre with precision and will out the splice in seconds.

Distribution Fibre Network (DFN)

Ribbon Splicing is required

The Sumitomo 71M Ribbon Splicer is able to splice both ribbon and single core fibre. This allows the user to Splice at the DJL using the 12 Ribbon Fibre Holder on at the FJL / BJL with the Single Fibre Holder.

Fusion Splicing - Optical Fibre Preparation Tools

Splicer Cleaning Kit - Isopropyl Bottle, Kim Wipes, Cotton Buds, Tweezers, Sharps Container

DPU Cleaning Kit - SC One Click Cleaner, HC One Click Cleaner


FTTC Training and Instructional Videos
Training Videos - FTTC OTDR Testing with the VIAVI (formally JDSU) OTDRs

This playlist currently contains the following videos:

  • OTDR Folder Instructions - nbn FTTC & FTTP
  • OTDR Set Up for NBN FTTC (DPU to FJL)
  • OTDR Training - Selecting the correct Pulse Width Setting for the MTM LFN

Training Videos - Inspect Before You Connect video series

This playlist currently contains the following videos:

  • Inspect Before You Connect Introduction
  • Proactive vs. Reactive Inspection
  • Importance of Inspecting BOTH Sides of a Connection
  • The Importance of Inspecting New Fiber Connectors
  • Cleaning Stick vs. a Clicker
  • Static Charge and Contamination
  • Understanding Fiber Cleaning Solvents
  • The Importance of Reliable Cleaning Tools
  • Understanding the IEC-61300-3-35 Standard
  • The Importance of Automated Pass/Fail Analysis for Fiber Inspection
  • The Importance of Documenting Fiber Inspection Results
  • The Importance of Investing in Inspection and Cleaning Today



Contact Us

How to Contact Us...

You can contact us by either

  • Completing the online Contact Form below,
  • Calling us on FREECALL 1800 680 680, or
  • Utlising our FREE "Click to Call" service (enter your name and your phone number, then your phone will ring and connect you to our office).

Alternatively, if you are calling from outside Australia please call +61 3 9265 7400.

We look forward to assisting you with your requirements


Operating Hours

Sales & Rental Department

8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.

Technical Support, Service and Warranty Department

8.00am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.



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Please remember, you can always contact us via telephone or postal mail as well using the following information:

TMG Test Equipment
231 Osborne Ave
Clayton South, Australia 3169

Telephone: 1800 680 680



This FTTC guide is provided for information purposes only. The reader must make and rely on their own inquiries as to the currency, accuracy and completeness of the information contained herein. For more detailed information, please obtain nbn's Quality, Standards and Field Practices Optical testing standard for DFN and LFN Document #F0002-31-10468 for the most up-to-date information available through your nbn™ delivery partner