The international standards to which fiber optic cabling and encircled flux compliant light sources are field-tested are changing. Tim Widdershoven from IDEAL Networks says that new ISO/IEC and ANSI/TIA standards will have a notable impact on the test equipment required by installers.
“The new encircled flux testing standards will slowly start to make their way into contracts and customer requirements,” says Tim Widdershoven, Global Marketing Manager for IDEAL Networks. “Installers will need to obtain accurate, compliant measurements so to ensure a problem-free testing experience they must be equipped with the correct testing tools and equipment.”
The ISO/IEC 14763-3:2014 standard specifies systems and methods for the inspection and testing of installed optical fiber cabling designed in accordance with premises cabling standards while the ANSI/TIA-526-14 standard is applicable to the measurement of attenuation of installed fiber optic cabling using multimode fiber. The purpose of these standards, which are both due to be updated this year, is to ensure that regardless of which manufacturer’s test system is being used, all the different test systems report the same loss for the cable being tested.
“To stay ahead of the new testing requirements, installers should not delay in ensuring that the test cords that accompany their power meters and light sources are made with reference grade connectors,” explains Tim. “They must also understand which tools and methods will deliver compliant test results in varied scenarios, for example the differences that exist when using LED or VCSEL light sources.”
The most significant change is the addition of encircled flux testing which ensures that all fiber optic testers provide the same results when testing the same cable. To accomplish this, installers will need to add encircled flux launch cables to their existing inventory of fiber optic test equipment. Additionally, encircled flux testing does not allow VCSEL light sources thus requiring “upgrading” to LED light sources.
For fast and simple certification of high bandwidth single and multimode fiber optic cabling, including support for encircled flux testing, IDEAL Networks FiberTEK III adapters can be used with the LanTEK III cable certifier. The FiberTEK III adapters offer quick and easy Tier 1 certification which is also compliant with the new 2016 encircled flux fiber standards when equipped with encircled flux launch cords.
To help keep costs manageable, LanTEK III and FiberTEK III have been designed as a modular solution so that cable installers only need to pay for the components that they need.
“When combined, reference-grade connectors and cords, encircled flux compliant launches and clean connectors will provide the best possible testing experience resulting in fewer failed tests and less time spent troubleshooting,” says Tim. “However, technicians should also remember to clean the ports of test equipment and test cords every time they are used - if the end faces on connectors, launch cables and testers are not clean, these important test results will not be accurate.”
To support installers, IDEAL Networks has published an article containing more detailed guidance on how to test fiber optic cable with encircled flux compliant light sources: https://www.idealnetworks.net/IN/EN/News/Using-Encircled-Flux-Compliant-Light-Sources-for-Testing-Fiber-Optic.aspx