The Advantage of Tier-2 Testing for Fibre Optic Cabling

04/12/2017

The Advantage of Tier-2 Testing for Fibre Optic Cabling

When installing or maintaining a network, an OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer) is used to perform Tier-2 certification for fibre optic cabling.

The primary advantage of a Tier-2 test is that it provides information about each connection, splice and cable segment in the link and offers a graphical representation of the components and their performance.

An OTDR is unrivalled for troubleshooting because it creates a visual representation of the link allowing the operator to see the contribution of each component to the link’s total loss. Previously OTDRs were only used for troubleshooting in LANs because of their cost and complex operation. Today OTDRs are very easy to use and the costs have come down to a point where it is practical to use them for initial “turn-up” testing.

When certifying new cabling with an OTDR a snapshot is created, documenting the location and performance of every component at the time of installation. Should an issue arise later, a current OTDR test can be compared with the initial test to immediately identify what has changed in the cabling and the location of that fault.

An OTDR performs different measurements during a test. An OTDR classifies everything it “sees” as one of two categories of event - attenuation/non-reflective events or reflective events.

Attenuation events are those where power is lost going through the event and none is reflected back to the OTDR. Events that fall into this category are fusion splices, micro bends, macro bends and the fibre optic cable itself.

Reflective events are those where power is lost going through the event, and power is reflected back to the OTDR. Events that fall into this category are connections/bulkheads, mechanical splices, breaks in the fibre and the end of the fibre optic cable.

An OTDR will provide a number of very different looking traces when testing the same fibre depending on the OTDR’s wavelength, acquisition time and pulse width settings for each test. Ultimately, obtaining the perfect, single OTDR trace for a given cable is a matter of compromise that boils down to resolution (sharpness) versus dynamic range (max loss that can be measured). In some cases, there is no single setting that provides a perfect trace, so a cable may be tested with different settings providing two or more reports to capture every event.

Recent articles

  • How the FT-45 plugs and crimp tool helps to overcome CCTV installation challenges 17/07/2018

    IP CCTV installation poses a challenge for installers, who must complete the job quickly, causing minimal disruption and avoid costly delays by completing cat5e and cat6 cable terminations correctly first time.

    Read more
  • Free LanTEK III Cable Certifier Software Update Offers Helpful New Functions 10/07/2018

    The popular IDEAL Networks LanTEK III cable certifier has received a new, free software update to help installers test and certify copper and fibre optic cabling more easily than ever before.

    Read more
  • 3 things you should know about testing MPTL 05/07/2018

    Modular Plug Terminated Links (MPTL) are becoming more widespread in networks but are often new to installers and integrators, making it tricky to avoid common MPTL testing pitfalls.

    Read more
  • 5 ways SecuriTEST IP improves CCTV troubleshooting and installation 05/07/2018

    When faced with installing and maintaining CCTV security systems, you may find yourself having to switch between a whole range of different network testing equipment. With the new SecuriTEST IP CCTV camera tester for IP digital/HD coax and analogue systems from IDEAL Networks, this doesn’t have to be the case. Here are just a few of the ways that the SecuriTEST IP can help you improve productivity and overcome challenges using a single tester.

    Read more
  • LAN tester upgrade meets 5GHz Wi-Fi testing demand 04/07/2018

    IDEAL Networks has upgraded its LanXPLORER Pro in-line network troubleshooter with updated software and a new Wi-Fi testing accessory to support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.

    Read more