The management of wavelength routed optical mesh networks is complex with many potential light path routes and numerous physical layer impairments to transmission performance. This complexity can be reduced by applying the ideas of abstraction from computer science where different equipment is described in the same basic terms. The noise-to-signal ratio can be used as a metric to describe the quality of transmission performance of a signal propagated through a network element and accumulates additively through a sequence of such elements allowing the estimation of end-to-end performance. This study aims to explore the robustness of the noise-to-signal ratio metric in an installed fibre infrastructure. We show that the abstracted noise-to-signal ratio is independent of the observers and their location. We confirm that the abstracted noise-to-signal ratio can reasonably predict the performance of light-paths subsequently set in our network. Having a robust network element abstraction that can be incorporated into routeing engines allows the network management controller to make decisions on the most effective way to use the network resources in terms of the routeing and data coding format.