Sunday, September 27, 2020

3 Effective Testing Methods for Your Fiber Optic Cables

Home Urban Planning Civil Engineering 3 Effective Testing Methods for Your Fiber Optic Cables


As office and home bandwidth requirements increase, it falls on the shoulders of internet service providers to update their technology. Streaming video, gaming, and other applications all consume more bandwidth than the early pioneers of the internet thought possible. It has, therefore, become imperative to use the fastest transmission medium possible, which is fiber optic cables.

However, since the cables are so important, any failure on their part is going to cause the whole system to collapse. Maybe not at the end of the provider, but definitely a risk for consumers and clients. Even if you got reliable ones like the OTS fiber optic cable, you should still conduct tests. Here are the most reliable methods for testing an optical fiber connection.

1. Visible Light Source Test

Visible light source tests are pretty basic, meant to see if there is continuity in the cable. Fiber optic systems rely on the use of light on the infrared spectrum, invisible to the naked eye, but there are devices that generate visible light that can be used conducting the tests. If you’re having trouble finding them, they’re also known as visual fault finders or visual fault locators.

How To Do It

The procedure for using these can vary, but we’ll outline the simplest and most typical of them. You connect the optical fiber flashlight to one end of the strand, which needs to be both terminated and the one with the most units. You must be looking at the opposite end, but not directly on the active strands to avoid potential damage to the eyes.

Using the fault locator, you can check the light for visibility on the other end. If it isn’t, the most likely cause is damage along the length of the fiber. These areas tend to glow red due to the visible light source, making them easier to identify.

2. Power Meter and Light Source Testing

You should also do a power meter and light source testing. This is sometimes known as the one-jumper or single-jumper method and is an accurate means of measuring any signal loss that occurs from end to end. An ideal OTS fiber optic cable should not experience significant loss except over very long distances, though it is still practical to conduct such testing before use.

How to Do It

Take the following steps when testing an optical fiber cable in this manner. If you do this, you need a specialized light source, a power meter, and to disconnect all active equipment from the fiber optics. You will also need to calibrate the equipment based on the procedures provided by the manufacturer.

You begin by verifying the proper wavelength. From there, you use the jumper cables and connectors that come with the cable testing equipment or the light source. Attach the jumper, the testing light, and switch off the power meter before firing it up. Take note of the power reading.

After that, use an adapter to connect a second jumper for the test. This must be placed between the test equipment and the previous jumper. Attach the jumpers to both source and meter, but also disconnect them from the adapter. Place one of the jumpers at the end of the cable fiber to test, while the other is placed at the other end. In ideal conditions, the values should be within the same range.


The last type of test is the OTDR – optical time domain reflectometer. This is one that is meant to test the fiber cable’s length and attenuation. It also gets used as a way to detect any interruptions or irregularities. You conduct this test to find things like stress points, physical breaks, or any splices.

How to Do It

The test works by sending pulses of light into the reflective interior, while a device measures both timing and strength of the signal. It covers both the light reflected caused by interruptions it encounters and by reflecting off glass fibers. Then the data is used to display a graph to show the strength of the signal over the distance of the cable, narrowing down the areas where the problems occur.

OTDR testing requires access to a single end of the typical fiber cable. This makes it less of a hassle to conduct in most circumstances. However, this is not a direct method of testing. The power meter and light source test generates more accurate data. If you’re looking to test the consistency of the signal, it isn’t an ideal option.

However, because the equipment used displays the data as a graph that lines up with the length of the fiber, making it useful in tracking down physical errors. It is used with specific wavelengths, usually around 1310nm and 1550nm in single-mode fiber cables, while multi-mode cables use 850nm or 1300nm as standard.


Fiber optic cables should be tested, both for consistency and to check if degradation has damaged them over time. It might also be a useful way to check if systems are due for an upgrade or preventative maintenance. Regular testing might also present opportunities for adjusting the setup to your particular needs or requirements. At the very least, proper testing lets you improve your service for a little additional cost.

Author Bio

I enjoy being part of Urban Splatter as it continues to create evolving opportunities within the digital realm of architecture.

Leave a Reply


Must Read

Review of the Best Architecture LEGO Sets for Children and Adults

Do you see a future architect in your child or yourself? I would have loved this gadget as a child, but I am lucky...

Types of Property Insurance and When You Should Get Them

Insurance is a big type of financial asset that a person can opt to get in their lifetime. However, these days, with so many...

5 Reasons to Renovate Your Home

That initial joy of owning your own home eventually leads into a comfortable lull. The decor no longer intrigues you; neither do the marble...

Thinking of Renovating Your Home? 3 Tips for Deciding Which Room to Remodel First

Your home is one of the most significant financial investments you will make during your lifetime. In addition to your mortgage, insurance, and property...

Top 4 Mistakes Real Estate Investors Should Avoid

Real estate investing has made a real boom in recent years, attracting more and more people to join the trend. However, in order to...


Most Popular

Top 50 Most Dangerous Cities in the United States

Which American Cities Rank as the Most Dangerous? The United States has always had crime in not only urban areas, but also some rural towns....

4 Best Architecture TV Shows to Watch When You’re Bored

Best Architecture TV Shows Architecture is integrated within more channels than you might think. If you are interested in any sort of architectural design, then...

Mark Cuban’s Texas House

Its a Deal, Mark Cuban's House is a Mansion If you have watched Shark Tank then you are familiar with Mark Cuban. He is a...

Keep Reading