Basic or Tier 1 fiber network certification is required in all fiber optic cabling
links; tests attenuation / insertion loss, length and polarity. This test ensures that the fiber link exhibits less loss than the maximum allowable loss.
Tier 2 fiber network certification supplements Tier 1
testing with the addition of an OTDR trace of each fiber link. An OTDR trace is a graphical signature of a fiber's attenuation, and provides insight into
the performance of the link components - cable, connectors and splices. It does that by revealing non-uniformities in the trace.This test certifies that the
contractor's workmanship and quality of the installation meets the design and warrantee specifications.
As multi-fiber and duplex connectors
gain in popularity, verifying proper orientation or polarity is increasingly important. Polarity is analogous to copper UTP wire map. You can use either a visual
light source or an optical loss test set to verify and ensure that the transmitter on one end of a fiber connects to the receiver on the other end.
While insertion loss testing
provides an indication of whether a fiber link was properly installed, an OTDR furnishes more details on cable installation and termination quality, including
attenuation uniformity, attenuation rate, segment length, location and insertion loss of connectors and splices, and sharp bends resulting from cable installation.
All these readings are crucial in any fiber network certification job.
Every fiber connection is
critical to network performance, especially in high-speed, low power margin networks. It is essential to verify the condition of fiber connector endfaces. Recent
studies show that more than 85% of all fiber failures encountered in LANs are due to contaminated end faces. Such contamination is easily seen with fiber
microscopes. Documentation of the condition of connector endfaces may become a more common component of fiber network certification.
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