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4.

2 Length or Distance
Distance is an important factor in the delivery of DSL services;
the longer the loop, the higher the attenuation, and the greater
the amount of external noise that could be coupled onto the loop
from various sources. This means that the longer the loop, the
less likely the subscriber will get the DSL speeds they desire.
The “best guess” method is only a partially successful method of
eliminating long-loop subscribers since telephone cables are not
laid in a straight line. The cables follow streets, roads, tunnels,
cable routes and rivers. If a telephone company has detailed
cable-plant records, these can be used. Unfortunately, cable-
plant records, in most cases, have not been kept up to date, or Figure 26. The “best guess” method of
do not include repair information. determining who gets DSL

A typical method of determining loop length is by measuring the


resistance of a circuit to determine loop resistance. To do so,
the far end of the circuit is shorted so that a proper resistance
measurement can be made. Once the loop resistance is
determined, a calculation using the specific resistive constant
for the cable gauge can be made to determine the length of
the cable. The smaller the wire gauge, the higher the resistive Figure 27. Cable gauge vs. resistive
constant
Local-Loop and DSL Reference Guide EXFO 49
constant, which in turn means the shorter the distance to the end of the circuit (for a given loop
resistance value).
Depending upon the plant makeup and where the technician conducts his loop resistance testing,
he/she may be faced with a mixed cable gauge environment. In this case, loop resistance will be
correct, but the calculation for determining loop length will be incorrect. Segmenting the network
to ensure a single gauge of wire is always a good idea to ensure accurate results in this regard.
Temperature also plays a factor in loop resistance. Since most cable specifications are referenced
at 20°C or 68°F, lower temperatures yield lower resistance, and higher temperatures yield higher
resistance. In turn, the calculation for loop length will yield shorter distances in cold weather and
longer distances in hot weather.
Alternatively, the capacitance of the cable can be used to
approximate its length. Typically, cable has a loop capacitance
of approximately 83 nF per mile (52 nF per km) and is
consistent for the common cable gauges. This is per the
manufacturing process.
Figure 28. Cable gauge vs. capacitive
constant

50 EXFO Local-Loop and DSL Reference Guide