Why Test Fiber Optic Equipment Using Real Optical Fiber?

Posted by Kevin Miller on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 @ 15:06 PM

When testing fiber optic equipment intended for longer distances during the development/certification stages, it is vital that engineers ensure their products will operate as intended once installed in the field.  In order to do this, there are a few alternative methods that have been used to accomplish this task.  As a leading provider of network simulation platforms containing real optical fiber spools, questions we commonly receive include:

  • "Why purchase specific or longer lengths of optical fiber when I can simply use attenuators?"
  • "Why should I test using real optical fiber, as there are a variety of network simulation software packages available?"

To answer these questions simply, since real fiber is used in the field, only testing using real fiber will exactly simulate the performance of the equipment.  In greater detail, there are several factors that either using attenuators or a software programs typically do not account for:

These two factors play major roles in the performance of optical fibers and vary depending on the type of fiber being used.  If equipment is not tested using real fiber and the above factors are not accounted for, the results can vary significantly and put the manufacturer at risk.  In addition, fibers from various manufacturers are designed slightly different according to application requirements and features, so it only makes sense to test in a manner that will simulate the optical network as closely as possible.

For these reasons, many engineers now follow the best practice of testing using real fiber to exactly simulate field applications - and most often use the exact fiber type & manufacturer that is deployed in the network/system they are designing equipment for.

"Achieve Real Results Using Real Fiber"

Topics: optical fiber