This blog is part of a series
As transmission speeds have increased on multimode fibers from 1-Gbit/sec to 10-Gbits/sec and beyond, loss budgets have decreased significantly, allowing little margin for error. The maximum allowable loss for a 10Gb/s Ethernet channel over OM3 multimode fiber is 2.6 dB, while the maximum allowable loss for a 100 Gb/s Ethernet channel is 1.5 dB over OM4 fiber.
This tightening of loss requirements means that the testing and certification of fiber optic links becomes critical. In addition, the introduction and deployment of multi-fiber MPO cable links only adds to the need for consistent and accurate test measurements.
TIA-568, the primary standard for field testing in North America, categorizes optical fiber testing into Tier 1 and Tier 2. TIA-568 requires Tier 1 testing to ensure system performance and compliance. Tier 1 tests consist of link attenuation testing, link length and a polarity check.
In order to ensure a fiber network link meets a required standard, a Fiber Certification Test Kit is used. These kits will certify that a fiber link has been tested for link loss, length and continuity/polarity as well as perform either unidirectional or bidirectional measurements.
There are several major factors that can affect the testing accuracy of optical loss measurements, including:
- End face cleanliness
- Fiber launch conditions
- Uni- or Bi-Directional Measurements
- Type and quality of the “test reference cords”
- Test Reference Method (i.e. 1-Jumper, 2-Jumper or 3-Jumper)
In this blog series, we’ll discuss details about each of these major factors and best practices that will ensure a high performance fiber optic network that is ready for today’s requirements as well as future proof tomorrow’s challenges.
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