Distributed acoustic sensing controls the arterial commerce networks

DAS for commerce networksFiber-optic distributed acoustic sensing or DAS is a highly effective technique that allows monitoring highways, railroads, and pipelines. Moreover, today it is possible to provide lower-cost communications network surveillance and management due to DAS ability of constant gapless monitoring.

The thing is that the world economy requires a reliable global network of highways, railroads, and pipelines for the transportation of people, products, and resources across countries and continents. Also, fiber-optic communication cables including spare optical fiber are often used for their continuous, gapless monitoring.

Distributed acoustic sensing is a fiber-optic sensing technology that is quite “young”, about ten years ago. Since then, the technology is used not only in the laboratory but outside in several real-world applications.

The first main application of DAS is a new type of fiber optic security sensor for early detection of intruders. Then, distributed acoustic sensing became used in the oil and gas industry for the following aims:

  1. control of the effectiveness of hydraulic fracturing;
  2. production flow control;
  3. control of borehole seismic activity.

The unique ability of the DAS system to control quite long fibers that are already in place allows using distributed acoustic sensing for pipeline monitoring that is the today main field of DAS application as well as control of highways and railroads located next to optical fiber routes.

It should be mentioned that all these applications use the same key platform technology. The principle of DAS operation is based on signals that can be analyzed in real-time for detection, location, and classification of events. Then the obtained information that can be in different formats is transmitted to an operator.

Herewith, all distributed acoustic sensing systems use a technique called coherent optical time-domain reflectometry (C-OTDR) that is highly efficient for all fields of application. Now it is possible to detect different anomalies such as falling rocks along the tracks by the DAS system.

Nevertheless, DAS has the biggest influence in the signaling area, for example,  distributed sensing helps to manage trains by control of their accurate position and motion in real-time. The technology enables to reduce journey times while increasing rail capacity and improving safety.

Of course, the distributed acoustic sensing system continues improving and the improvement will provide quantitative measurement with improved sensitivity and higher spatial resolution on longer lengths of the sensing fiber in the future.

Optromix is a DAS system manufacturer that provides top of the line distributed acoustic sensing systems suitable for monitoring of commerce networks. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DAS system, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Distributed acoustic sensing for traffic monitoring

DAS for traffic monitoring
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Today transport networks are the essential element of any major city. A huge amount of vehicles causes a reduction in road space, often accidents and traffic jams. Unfortunately, our present traffic systems cannot manage with the increased flows, for example, only the past two decades has seen an 84% increase in the number of cars. This became the main reason for the development of a new approach to traffic monitoring.

The possible solution is the use of distributed acoustic sensing or DAS by fiber optic cable networks. Herewith, it should be mentioned that fiber optic networks suggest two main advantages over other potential smart transport technologies:

  • the diffusion of fiber optic cables, to be precise, they cover almost all parts of cities and road infrastructures.
  • no need for their installation because fiber cables are already in place. That is why it is not necessary to dig up the streets, install new cameras, or fit point sensors.
  • no need for vast spending programs to deploy new technology.

The principle of work is based on the ability of all traffic to generate acoustic or seismic data. In addition, some specific activities, for example, incidents create certain acoustic signatures and these acoustic vibrations pass through fiber optic cables. Thus, distributed acoustic sensing allows interpreting the acoustic information to recognize, determine, and track these signatures for traffic flows and public transport infrastructure monitoring in real-time.

The DAS systems enable to analyze traffic speed and density, detect a traffic jam, and identify disruptions like broken-down vehicles. The most important thing is that the DAS technology opens the opportunity for city authorities to make dynamic adjustments to transport infrastructure that will be necessary to keep cities moving now and in the future.

For example, in the case of an accident or intense level of traffic, the DAS system is able to adapt quickly traffic controls and redirect road traffic to balance overall vehicle flows and avoid a traffic jam. Nevertheless, the whole potential of the DAS technology is not explored yet but at the present time, it is tested in Canada.

The novel distributed acoustic sensing combine monitoring of the public tram system, public road networks, and even autonomous vehicles to create a complete picture of the transport network situation in the city. Then, the obtained information is transmitted into an app for citizens where they can see the road traffic to optimize their own journeys. Finally, it is planned that fiber optic sensing solutions will soon make intelligent transport systems cheaper, with less disruption than alternative approaches. 

Optromix is a DAS system manufacturer that provides top of the line distributed acoustic sensing systems suitable for monitoring of transport traffic systems. If you have any questions or would like to buy a DAS system, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Fiber optic cables for earthquake monitoring

FBG sensors for earthquake monitoringNowadays researchers from California are planning to use “dark fiber optic cables”, i.e. unused fiber cables, for underground monitoring of sound waves or signals came from earthquakes. It should be noted that today millions of fiber optic cable miles remain unused underground in spite of the fact that they have numerous applications.

Thus, the researchers have developed a new technique of fiber optic underground monitoring that allows higher-resolution measurements of the Earth’s crust movement than the seismic detector networks could offer at the present time. Herewith, in traditional seismology the number of optical sensors for earthquake detection is limited but this technology makes each couple of meters a separate sensor.

Also, today’s problem is the measurement of the Earth’s surface vibrations because, in some seismically active places, there are a lot of fiber optic sensors while the areas that are far from tectonic plates have only a few. That is why it remains difficult to take measurements in places with fracking-induced earthquakes.

The new technique is based on distributed acoustic sensing that includes laser pulses with the aim of vibration detection along with the fiber. Moreover, the researchers use FBG interrogators that are placed along the fibers that transmit and detect short infrared laser signals.

The principle of the interrogator operation includes the detection of tiny strains caused by seismic activity on the fiber, then they force the laser light to reflect and bounce back to the fiber sensor. Thus, the researchers are able to determine light changes scattering over time by analyzing the rapid pulses, and this information shows where the seismic activity occurred.

The technology of distributed acoustic sensing was tested in real-world conditions and enable to extract information about the speed of waves traveling through the Earth’s surface. Moreover, the researchers succeeded in the earthquake measurement that happened in Mexico due to the distributed acoustic method and used fiber optic cables.

The potential application of DAS technology is the determination of groundwater location, nevertheless, the tests were not successful although the researchers could measure passing trucks and trains.  Unfortunately, this experimental method is not ready for application beyond research yet because there are a lot of limitations. For example, now a single sensing location along the line is less sensitive than a single seismometer and is able to measure the fiber strain only in one direction. The second problem of fiber optic cables is a huge amount of data that are difficult to manage, store, and organize. Herewith, the new DAS technique cannot be used yet on underwater lines.

Optromix is a fast-growing vendor of fiber Bragg grating (FBG) products line such as fiber Bragg grating sensors, FBG interrogators and multiplexers, Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) systems, Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS)systems. The company creates and supplies a broad variety of fiber optic solutions for monitoring worldwide. If you are interested in acoustic measurement systems and want to learn more, please contact us at info@optromix.com

Fiber optic solutions for security monitoring system

FBGs for security monitoringRecently a new simple low-cost technology has been developed for security monitoring of the borders. Initially, the technology that includes fiber-optic cables has been tested at the US-Mexico border. It allows the determination of a wide range of invasions such as animals, people, vehicles and it is even possible to detect their precise location.

In spite of the fact that this fiber-optic application is not new and has been around for years, the government of the USA has been slow to use it. The fiber-optic cable technology is able to detect exactly what is moving above it, and it does not matter whether it is a huge man, a group of people, a passing car, or a wandering dog.

Today, the US government continues to build a border wall that critics name a “medieval” solution to provide security, even despite the fact that the use of the fiber-optic system is cheaper than the building of a real wall. Other advantages of fiber optic cables include:

  • precise determination of border invasion location;
  • accurate detection of border invaders;
  • possibility to send quickly the information to border patrol agents in real-time.

It should be mentioned that only 1% of human communications is accounted for by satellites, and 99% is accounted for by fiber-optic cables spreading across the seafloor, buried under cities. Herewith, comparing to satellites, the fiber-optic technology is able not only to transmit data but also to determine movement that makes it more advantageous.

Moreover, the fiber-optic technology is already developed enough to be implemented in the security monitoring system of the US-Mexico border, and it is nearly ten times cheaper than a wall and can be put into operation instantly. Nevertheless, the main obstacle is the support of the US government.

The fiber-optic system is quite simple, that is why it is not necessary to put any sensors on the fiber because the fiber itself is a sensor that is able to determine motion as well as events anywhere along the fiber-optic cable length. Some companies made some improvements and enlarge the field of fiber-optic applications that now includes telecommunication, security monitoring, and even broadband internet access.

The principle of work is based on converting sound waves into acoustic information. Although the fiber-optic technology on its own will not completely get rid of the activity such as illegal border-crossing and drug-smuggling, its combination with border patrol agents will significantly improve the situation.

Optromix is a manufacturer of innovative fiber optic products for the global market. The company provides the most technologically advanced fiber optic solutions for the clients. Optromix produces a wide range of fiber optic devices, including cutting-edge customized fiber optic Bragg grating product line and fiber Bragg grating sensor systems. Moreover, Optromix is a top choice among the manufacturers of fiber Bragg grating monitoring systems. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@optromix.com