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Fiber Optics IV - Testing

Lee Layton, P.E.

Course Outline

This course describes the optical fiber and optical connection laboratory measurements used to evaluate fiber optic components and system performance, including the near-field and far-field optical power distribution of an optical fiber. Optical fiber launch conditions and modal effects that affect optical fiber and optical connection measurements are reviewed.  The course also reviews optical time-domain reflectometry (OTDR) and how to interpret an optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) trace.

Fiber Optics IV – Testing begins with a discussion of the laboratory measurements used to evaluate fiber optic cables and connections.  Issues such as near-field and far-field optical fiber power distributions are reviewed.  Launch conditions are the modal effects are also discussed.  Finally, the use of OTDR for optical cable analysis is reviewed.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to do the following:

Intended Audience

This course is intended for electrical engineers and others who want to learn more about fiber optic cables.

Benefit to Attendees

Fiber optic cables are becoming the backbone for all ground-based communications in the world.  This course will give you a thorough understanding of fiber optic systems are tested and commissioned for data communications.

Course Introduction

Fiber optic data links operate reliably if fiber optic component manufacturers, and end users, perform the necessary laboratory and field measurements. Manufacturers must test how component designs, material properties, and fabrication techniques affect the performance of fiber optic components. These tests can be categorized as design tests or quality control tests. Design tests are conducted during the development of a component. Design tests characterize the component's performance in the intended application. Quality control tests verify that the parts produced are the same as the parts the design tests were conducted on. When manufacturers ship fiber optic components, they provide quality control data detailing the results of measurements performed during or after component fabrication.

End users should measure some of these parameters upon receipt before installing the component into the fiber optic data link. These tests determine if the component has been damaged in the shipping process. In addition, end users should measure some component parameters after installing or repairing fiber optic components in the field. The values obtained can be compared to the system installation specifications. These measurements determine if the installation or repair process has degraded component performance and will affect data link operation.
Whenever a measurement is made, it should be made using a standard measurement procedure. For most fiber optic measurements, these standard procedures are documented by the Electronics Industries Association/Telecommunications Industries Association (EIA/TIA).

Course Content

This course content is in the following PDF document:

Fiber Optics IV - Testing

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Course Summary

In this course, we have reviewed the appropriate tests to commission and verify proper operation of a fiber optic cable system.  The course has described the optical fiber and optical connection laboratory measurements used to evaluate fiber optic components and system performance, including the near-field and far-field optical power distribution of an optical fiber. This course also reviewed optical time-domain reflectometry (OTDR) and its importance in verifying cable parameters.


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.