Fiber Testing

Fiber Testing
ATEC Solutions
Fiber Testing

What Is Fiber Testing?

Fiber testing is a term that refers to the certification, troubleshooting, inspection, and splicing test methods applied to fiber optic cabling. For fiber cables, plants, and networks across the world, these tests are essential for verifying performance.
Fiber testing is an essential safeguard for the digital communications industry. Optical fiber is the primary medium for facilities, datacenters and campus networks to transfer mass amounts of data. Networks rely on fiber infrastructures to transfer data quickly and efficiently without loss or fault. Fiber optic testing processes are constantly evolving in response to demand for faster network speeds and wider bandwidths, meaning that acquiring reliable and affordable fiber optic test equipment—with sophisticated interfaces and detailed pass/fail analysis—is more essential than ever for cabling maintenance.
Watch this short video for fiber optic inspection and testing basics when using an ODM TTK 650:


How to Test Fiber Optic Cable

Once a new fiber cable infrastructure is installed, the cabling needs to be tested and certified to various standards depending on which applications the link is intended to run. Fiber certifiers, or optical loss test systems (OLTS), measure the absolute loss of the link as compared to standardized loss limits. Troubleshooting is performed with an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR), which detects light reflected from bends or other faults in the fiber.

Fiber optic cabling requires inspection and cleaning to guarantee the proper passage of light. Oil, dust and other contaminants may be deposited on fiber by a simple touch and distort the attenuation once a connection is made. Fiber inspection kits and optical power meters will verify the fiber is clean and ready to connect.

For re-routing fiber connections to accommodate for wired network design changes, fusion splicers are necessary. A fusion splicer will split a fiber cable and then melt two cables together to allow for new fiber connections without sacrificing cabling or incurring light loss.

Fiber Testing Equipment

Rent fiber testing equipment from ATEC to ensure your cabling meets IEEE, TIA/EI and ISO/IEC standards for a fraction of the purchase price. We offer fiber tester rentals for products from leading manufacturers like Fluke, Exfo and NetScout.

Fiber Certifiers

Fiber certifiers, also known as optical loss test sets or OLTS, perform certification tests on fiber cables. A fiber certifier will determine if light passes through fiber cabling in compliance with IEEE, TIA/EI and ISO/IEC standards. Fiber certification is generally divided into two tiers: Tier 1 certification, in which optical loss is tested for and the quality of the fiber system is analyzed, and Tier 2 certification, in which light reflected by the fiber is detected for quality testing and troubleshooting. Fiber certifiers fall under Tier 1 testing and come either as a light source to be used with a separate power meter, or as single unit with both functionalities and certification software. The following products are recommended for fiber certification:
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An OTDR, or optical time domain reflectometer, is designed for troubleshooting fiber optic cables. OTDRs characterize fiber cables and detect bends, breaks or distortions in fiber cabling, measuring the length of cables and forming a picture, or trace, of the cable’s condition. OTDRs create these traces by sending pulses of high-powered laser light down the fiber and measuring the light that reflects back, or backscatter, over time. A trace should be taken of the fiber optic cable at first installation for immediate verification and for future reference.
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Fiber Optic Inspection

Fiber inspection and cleaning kits are used to perform fiber cleaning procedures and end-face inspections. Fiber should be cleaned whenever an endface comes into contact with a possible source of contaminants; common contaminants include water, oil and dust. Fiber is constantly subjected to end-face contamination that disrupts the flow of light and causes network outages and downtime. High connector loss, high reflectance and contaminated transceivers are all symptoms of contaminated fiber. Fiber optic inspection and cleaning is performed when splicing, certifying and troubleshooting fiber cables to verify the success of these operations. 
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Fusion Splicers

Fusion splicers fuse two fiber optic cables together into a single long fiber using an electric arc. The end result is the fusion splice, two permanently joined glass fibers from end to end with very little loss so optical light signals can pass through from one fiber to the other. The majority of fusion splicers are automated single fiber fusion splicers and ribbon fusion splicers. ATEC carries both types. These fiber splicing machines provide displays which allow technicians to visually inspect the fusion splice to identify as a good or bad splice. Determination of splice quality will depend on if a flaw is detected and, if the flaw does not affect the optical transmission, the type of flaw.
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Cell Fiber Test Kits

Cell fiber test kits are quad OTDRs designed to test cell towers of specific cell providers. A cell fiber tester generally comes with varying models for different applications, including OTDR modules, CPRI modules and Ethernet modules. With the press of a button, network commissioning tests can be performed, as well as simplified cellular network installation and network maintenance. ATEC provides a variety of cell fiber test kits for major cellular providers Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile.
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Network Testers

Network testers include wired and wireless testers. Wired network testers, also called active network testers, are designed for performing fiber network testing. A wired network tester allows you to quickly certify two fibers concurrently over two wave lengths and troubleshoot your work and measurements for the upmost accuracy. Wireless network testers troubleshoot copper, fiber optic and Wi-Fi networks, offering a view of network performance ideal for resolving connection problems and completing deployment projects.
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Fiber Test Standards

The following are common test standards to which tests like optical loss and back reflection tests are performed: Read More About Communications Testing