Fiber Optical Loss Tests

When testing fiber optic cables for optical loss, fiber testers need to be connected to a test source to provide an optical light standard, as well as a launch cable to provide a calibrated light reference. “0 dB loss”. A power meter at the opposite end of the circuit will measure the light source with and without the fiber under test to quantify the dB loss of the fiber itself.

Other methods for testing fiber optic cable include launch cables and “receive” cables connected to the power meter. This is the standard test for measuring optical loss in a cable plant and includes optical loss measurements from both ends of the patch cable under test. That’s why in any fiber test, it’s very important to make sure all connections are meticulously clean.

  • Testing Fiber for Optical Loss
  • Optical Time Domain Reflect meter

The Optical Time Domain Reflect meter (OTDR) can also be used as a fiber optic cable tester for loss testing. Using high-intensity laser light emitted at a predefined pulse interval through a patch cord at one end of the Fiber optic cable run, the OTDR analyzes the backscatter of light returning to the source location.

This single-ended fiber testing method can be used as a fiber optic tester to quantitatively analyze loss as well as identify loss locations during installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting. Small footprint OTDR products include the functions of a mainframe OTDR device in a portable fiber optic test product, and can incorporate other features such as fiber end-face inspection, visual fault location, and power measurement. You can learn more about OTDR testing.

Origins of Fiber Optic Testing

The Origins of Fiber Testing

Transmission of an optical signal through a thin glass “fiber” is not a new concept. More than 100 years ago, experiments demonstrated the ability of light to travel through a curved glass substrate and retain most of its original intensity. In the late 1960s, laser optics, ultra-transparent fiberglass, and digital signals combined to form the basis of the fiber-optic communication networks we know today. In the 1990s, fiber optic networks could already carry up to 100 times more information than traditional cable networks with electronic amplifiers.

The operation of fiber optics is based on the conversion of electronic

/\binary information into optical signals in the form of digital light pulses. These signals can be transmitted over long fiber optic runs to a receiver at the other end of the line, where the signal is converted back to its original binary format. This is the readable format for computer devices and systems. To verify and maintain the integrity of these optical signals over long distance lines and complex networks, and to keep up with increases in bandwidth, fiber optic testing processes must continually evolve.


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