Fiber Optic Test Equipment
Testing your fiber optic installation introduces a different set of issues than copper wiring. With fiber testers, you have the tools to help you accurately measure power loss and pinpoint problems, locate fiber breaks and bend losses, measure cable length and integrity, and much more. Whether you’re dealing with singlemode or multimode fiber optic cables, we’re sure to have the tester you need to ensure your project will have the best possible connection.
Fiber test equipment ranges from simple visual fault locators, to power meters and Optical Time Domain Reflectometers. Each plays a different role in installing, troublshooting or documenting your optical fiber network.
Visual Fault Locators
The visual fault finder is a visible laser light source used to check continuity, locate breaks, poor mechanical splices and damaged connectors in fiber optic cabling. Used to verify continuity, test and find breaks in fiber links, locate pinched fiber strands in termination cabinets, or anywhere fiber optic cables are terminated and subject to mechanical damage. Visual fault finders are an excellent aide to technicians terminating mechanical splices or pre-polished connectors where leaking light is an indicator of a poor fiber cleave or other misalignment.
Optical Power Test Sets
Power meters provide optical loss (dB) measurements. Simple and easy to use for fast certification and troubleshooting of fiber optic cabling systems for LAN networks, power meters allow the user to measure absolute power and calculate the loss of fiber optic links at several wavelengths. Absolute power measurements are helpful when trouble shooting equipment that may not be operating properly. The dB calibration feature allows the operator to set a reference level to the light source and directly read the loss of fiber optic links without needing to manually calculate the values.
Power meters are available to test multimode or singlemode fibers, or in a kit that combines both in one unit.
Optical Time Domain Reflectometers
For full information about your fiber optic circuit, optical time domain reflectometers (OTDR’s) provide fast ene-to-end evaluation of the fiber, with visual displays.It can verify splice loss, measure length and find faults. The OTDR is commonly used to create a “picture” of fiber optic cable when it is newly installed. Later, comparisons can be made between the original trace and a second trace taken if problems arise. Analyzing the OTDR trace is always made easier by having documentation from the original trace that was created when the cable was installed.
The data the OTDR produces are creates a “trace” or “signature” that has valuable information for the trained user and can be stored for later reference or to check against a blueprint if network trouble arises. OTDRs should not be used for measuring insertion loss in the fiber optic cable – that task is better left to a fiber optic test source and power meter. OTDRs simply show you where the cables are terminated and confirm the quality of the fibers, connections and splices. Of course, OTDR traces are also used for troubleshooting, since they can show where breaks or other disturbances are in fiber when traces are compared to installation documentation.