VDV Works Virtual Hands-On Training
Fiber Optics Testing: Using OTDRs
Part of the VDV Academy Fiber Optic Training Programs


Read About OTDRs

 Dos & Don'ts



Take Data

Viewing the trace

Measure Loss

Modify Test Parameters

Compare Traces



More Useful References

 Understanding OTDRs

"Virtual Hands-On" Termination

"Virtual Hands-On" Testing

Dos & Don'ts - And Especially Fiber Optic Safety

Ensure that your launch cable is of adequate length and is in good condition. The connectors must be good as they will be used as reference connectors for cables being tested.
Make sure that the ferrules are securely attached to the cables and "wiggle proof".
Clean each connector before connecting the launch cable to the OTDR and test cables.
Make sure the OTDR is fully charged or will work off of full power batteries if AC power is not available.
Have a visual fault locator (if there isn't one built in to the OTDR) on hand to check questionable segments.
Follow the instructions in the next section to ensure the OTDR is set up properly.

Use an OTDR to test the loss of cables. Use a power meter and source which works just like the network equipment. The measurement technique of an OTDR is different and the loss will not be correct.
Do not use an OTDR to test cables that only run short distances like patchcords or most premises cables. The OTDR will produce confusing traces - see "ghosts" below.
Look into a fiber optic cable that's connected to an OTDR either directly or especially with a magnifying lens like a microscope. In fact- never look into any fiber optic cable. Looking directly into a cable can be harmful to your eyes!



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