What is fiber characterization?

Fiber characterization” is performing a comprehensive suite of tests that determine all of the key performance attributes of installed fiber infrastructure. The G.650.3 standard, includes this definition of fiber characterization: “A comprehensive suite of measurements that is carried out on a fiber optic cable link to determine the key performance attributes of that link which may affect current or future applications that operate over that link. Fiber characterization also allows the quality of the fiber optic cable link to be assessed, including the identification of the type and grade of fiber installed.” Full fiber characterization includes:
  • Connector end face inspection
  • Insertion loss measurements
  • Return loss measurements
  • OTDR testing
  • Chromatic dispersion testing
  • Polarization mode dispersion testing
  • Spectral attenuation
Results and analysis
The results of the characterization need to be documented and an important and valuable part of the process is the analysis and interpretation of the results.
This analysis should include an assessment of the infrastructure quality and its ability to support particular systems.

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