Frequently asked questions

Fiber-optic protective relaying communication is a relatively new technology. So to help you assess if Fidra could be the protective relay-to-relay fiber optic control and monitoring solution you’re seeking, we’ve put together a list of the most common questions customers are asking. Please take an opportunity to review and then contact us for a quote or to schedule a demo.

Following are the most common questions regarding multifunction protective relay-to-relay fiber optic control and monitoring.

What is a fiber-optic cutout switch?

A protective relaying switch that enables active control of fiber-optic network data flow, so electric utilities can easily manage any type of fiber-optic signaling for operations and testing.

Who can benefit the most from a product like Fidra?

Relay communication engineers responsible for maintaining the integrity, performance, and security of their electric utility's fiber-optic network.

Why do I need a fiber-optic cutout switch?

As any field technician or relay communication engineer will tell you, manually disconnecting the fiber-optic cable from a device to test, troubleshoot, or re-route the communication link is the worst method, but until now was the only method available. Physically handling the cable and connector ultimately leads to damage, which results in lower signal levels and possible loss of communication.

Fidra helps extend the life of your fibers by eliminating the need to manually handle fiber connectors.

How is Fidra different from other fiber-optic protective relaying solutions or
cutout switches?

Fidra is the first-ever active, multifunction fiber network physical switch, designed to monitor, reroute, repeat, boost, and disable up to three fiber-optic communication pairs, without manually handling the fiber connectors.

How do I convert multimode fiber to single-mode?

Fidra utilizes industry-standard small form-factor pluggable (SFP) modules. Thus, Fidra can support various optical communication including single/multimode, LED/laser as well as multiple wavelengths. In fact, a single Fidra can have single-mode, multimode, and/or different frequency heads simultaneously. Since the SFP modules are not soldered to the board, they are easily added or changed in the field.

As a result, Fidra can convert any type of fiber signal (e.g., multimode 850 nm, single-mode 1310 nm, or 1550 nm) to any other type of fiber signal simply by exchanging a modular SFP. Thus, there is no need to replace expensive equipment in order to match fiber types.

Do I need to remove the fiber-optics from my device in order to measure the signal?

No, active monitoring of fiber optic signals is standard. Every Fidra unit has built in level meters that perform this function, in-line, for up to 3 receivers, independently. Fidra displays the level. of the three receivers on the front panel. Alarming for a drop in signal level, receive fail, transmitter failure, power supply failure, and test mode function are all included.

What protocols can Fidra support?

Fidra was designed to support Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), so it is protocol independent. Any manufacturer's protocol will operate in a Fidra. When enabled, Fidra's DHCP server assigns an IP address to the PC. This allows the PC to be connected directly to the Fidra, making field connections more straight forward. Using the DHCP server also allows Fidra to not have to be permanently connected to the sub-station's Ethernet network.

What type of fiber signal metering does Fidra provide, to let me know if there is a
problem with my signal level?

Active, monitoring of fiber optic signals is standard. Alarming for a drop in signal level, receive fail, transmitter failure, power supply failure, and test mode function are all included. Another metering feature unique to Fidra is the RX Drop alarm. This alarm allows the user (you) to program a receive-level threshold alarm (in dBm). When an individual receiver falls below the programmed setting, Fidra will display a preemptive warning of decreasing power, to indicate a drop in level before the attached IED fails to receive the signal.

Why are there three fiber receivers and transmitters, don't I just need 2?

Fidra will operate with 2 sets of fiber transmitters and receivers. However, having three fiber receivers and transmitters provides an "auxiliary" port for testing and maintenance without the need to remove and reroute fiber cables, thus eliminating costly fiber damage and ruining components caused by improper handling.

The fiber port settings map is easily set using radio buttons. The three transmitters can set to any of the three receivers. This allows straight, local loopback, remote loopback, and bypass logic to be programmed in Normal mode, Test mode 1 and Test mode 2. The mode being utilized is controlled by locking toggle switches on the front panel.

How fast is Fidra, will it cause delays in my circuit?

Fidra is extremely fast. Only 6 µs of delay is added to propagation time.

How many Fidra units do I need per fiber device?

One Fidra connects one device to a fiber network. This allows complete control of the end device's fiber connection.

What data rates does Fidra support?

Fidra is designed for typical intelligent electronic device (IED) speeds, sub 155 Mbps(0 to 155 Mbps).

What kind of warranty does Fidra have?

Fidra is covered by the same 12 year warranty (for any part that fails during normal operation or service) that covers all Iniven products.

Can I buy my own SFP's, or do I need to buy them from Iniven?

Fidra SFPs are not locked. Customers can therefore install third-party SFPs, if warranted. However, all standards that are required for proper operation must be met. Please contact Iniven for necessary requirements, prior to installing any third-party SFPs.

Do I need Fidra on both ends of my circuit?

No. Fidra does not convert the data passing through it, so all data is readable without passing through a second Fidra.

What input voltages does Fidra support?

Fidra comes with a wide range power supply that can be used with 24, 48, 125VDC. A 250VDC option is also available. 24-125 VDC or 250 VDC Current Draw, 150 mA Max

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