What is An Optical Time-domain Reflectometer Used for

Posted on by FS.COM

Optical Time-domain Reflectometer is the full name of OTDR. In fiber tester fields, it is a very important and common optoelectronic instrument used for certifying and characterizing the optical fibers. During its working process, the optical time domain reflectmeter send a series of fiber optic pulses into the fiber cable, the fiber signal light will be scattered back and reflected back from points along the fibers. because of the fiberglass attribute, fiber joint point or fiber break. The strength of the return pulses is measured and integrated as a function of time, and is plotted as a function of fiber length. By this way, the OTDR can detect the fiber optic cable length, fiber optic cable overall attenuation and locate the break point. In the following text, we will introduce the two major function of the optical time domain reflectmeter.

Certifying Fiber Optics
A good quality of fiber optic networks is very important for the healthy of the critical networks especially for business use. For a network administrator, it is very necessary to known how well the invested fiber cabling network performed and how to solve problems at the first time they occur. Fiber optics certification has experienced a development from Tier 1, the Fiber Optics Certification Basic to Tier 2 fiber certification, that extended Tier 1 with an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR).

The Tier 1 tests are attenuation (insertion loss), length and polarit, the complete Tier 1 fiber certification is required in all fiber optic cabling links. During the Tier 1 testing, each fiber
link is measured for attenuation and results are documented. This test ensures that the fiber link exhibits less loss than the maximum allowable loss budget for the immediate application. This CertiFiber is one handheld tester that quickly and easily certifies multimode networks. One button measures fiber length and optical loss on two fibers at two wavelengths, computes the optical loss budget, compares the results to the selected industry standard and provides an instant PASS or FAIL indication. By Tier 1 testing, the invisible events are hardly to locate.
Tier2 is the extended Tier 1 with the application of an additional tool, OTDR, which is used to trace each fiber link. An OTDR trace is a graphical signature of a fiber’s attenuation along its
length. You can gain insight into the performance of the link components such as fiber optic cable, connectors and splices and the quality of the installation by examining non-uniformities in the trace. This fiber test certifies that the workmanship and quality of the installation meets the design and warrantee specifications for current and future applications. An obvious advantage of using OTDR is that is helps detect the invisible events that may happened when conducting only loss/length (tier 1) testing, which is regarded as a complete fiber certification.

Maintaining Fiber Infrastructure Performance
Besides fiber optics certification, OTDR is also used for repairing problem fiber plant. Because the OTDR makes you detect any details on the cabling installation, termination quality and offers advanced diagnostics to isolate a point of failure that may hinder network performance.

OTDR tester characterize features such as attenuation uniformity and attenuation rate, segment length, location and insertion loss of connectors and splices, and other events such as sharp bends that may have been incurred during cable installation. The right OTDR must has certain functionality, such as loss-length certification, channel/map view, power meter capabilities, an easy-to-use interface, and smart-remote options.
Fiber optic testing tools manufacturers such as FiberStore, provides the ultimate optical time domain reflectometer series for your testing and troubleshooting solution of fiber optic networks, which includes EXFO AXS-100, EXFO AXS-110-12CD, DVP-321 OTDR, EXFO FTB-200 OTDR and more. They are all perfect for perform inspection, verification, certification, troubleshooting.

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