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 A VFL operates in the visible light
 Identifies individual optic fibers within cable .
 The optic fiber strand will glow at the point of break of separation in fibers .
 Continuity – no breaks, as the definition implies , this is the uninterrupted
connection within a fiber . “Continuous action”
 By connecting the optical fiber flashlight to one end of an optical fiber strand,
then looking into the other end, a technician can determine if there is a break in
the strand.
 If a break occurs, the light will NOT BE VISIBLE.
 For safety, the user should not never look directly at the fiber strands .
 Problems Associated in VFL
1. VFL’s adapter can easily carry contamination from one fiber port to
another . That’s why we are always advised to use industrial specific fiber
optic cleaning products after each mating of a fiber optic plug and an
adapter or port.
2. The VFL can test only one fiber port at a time , which is time consuming.
*However the technology was developed called VISUAL FIBER OPTIC CABLE
This technology provides simplified visual fiber optic field system
Can be used to inspect “MULTI STRAND”
Enables technicians to inspect all fiber strands at once based on visual
comparison .


 Uses an optical transmitter (light source ) at once end of the cable and an optical
receiver ( power meter ) at the cable’s other end.
 Also known as “End to end Attenuation testing”
 An attenuation tester measures the optical power loss between cable termination loss .
 We all know that attenuation is the loss of optical power as light travels along the fiber.
It is a result of absorption , scattering, bending and other loss mechanisms.
 Acceptable loss values are established according to the link loss budget for the cable
under test
 Connector Loss
-For each connector, 0.3 dB loss for most adhesive/polish connectors.
- Splice loss. For each splice, figure 0.3 dB
- Fiber Loss For multimode fiber, the loss is about 3 dB per km for 850 nm
sources, 1 dB per km for 1300 nm.
1.    Turn on equipment and allow time to warm-up
2.    Attach launch cable to source. This should remain connected to source for the
duration of the test.
3.    Clean all connectors and mating adapters.
4.    Set “0 dB” reference. Meter may be set to read “0 dB.”
5.    Attach source/ref cable and meter/ref cable to the cable plant under test and
make loss measurement.
- Used to characterize optical power along optical fibers with a graphical
signature on a display screen
- Has a capability to measure the length of the optical fiber and characterize the
optical power loss between any two points along the optical fiber.
- Sends pulses of light into an optical fiber and measures the strength of the
power reflected to the instrument.
- Great trouble shooting tool for identifying the exact location of failure in the
 Measuring Distances
- The OTDR uses a system rather like a radar set. It sends out a pulse of light and
‘listens’ for echoes from the fiber.
- If it knows the speed of light and can measure the time taken for the light to
travel along the fiber, it is an easy job to calculate the length of the fiber.
-Uses the effects of Rayleigh Scattering and Fresnel Reflection
- Rayleigh Scattering- When a pulse of light is sent down a fiber, part of the
pulse runs into microscopic particles (called dopants) in the glass and gets
scattered in all directions
-Fresnel Reflection- Fresnel reflection occurs at the air-glass interfaces at
the entrance and exit ends of an optical fiber.
By sending a pulse of light (the “optical” in OTDR) into a fiber and measuring the
travel time (“time domain”) and strength of its reflections (“reflectometer”)
from points inside the fiber, it produces a characteristic trace, or profile, of the
length vs. returned signal level on a display screen.
LASER LIGHT SOURCE. The laser diode sends out pulses of light on command from the
controller. You can select the duration of the pulse (the Pulse Width) for different measuring
conditions. The light goes
through the coupler-splitter and into the fiber under test (FUT). Some OTDRs have two lasers
to allow for testing fibers at two different wavelengths. Only one laser is used at a time. You
can easily switch between the two with the press of a button.
The coupler/splitter has three ports — one each for the source, the fiber under test, and the
sensor. It is a device that allows light to travel only in specific directions: FROM the laser
TO the fiber under test, and FROM the fiber under test TO the sensor. Light is NOT allowed
to go directly from the source to the sensor. Thus, pulses from the source go out into the
under test, and the returning backscatter and Fresnel reflections are routed to the sensor.
The sensor is a photodetector that measures the power level of the light coming in from the
fiber under test. It converts the optical power in the light to a corresponding electrical level
— the higher the optical power, the higher the electrical level put out. OTDR sensors are
specially designed to measure the extremely low levels of backscattered light. The sensor
section includes an electrical amplifier to further boost the electrical signal level.
The controller is the brains of the OTDR. It tells the laser when to pulse; it gets the power
levels from the sensor; it calculates the distance to scattering and reflecting points in the
it stores the individual data points; and it sends the information to the display section.

The display section is a CRT or LCD screen that shows the data points that make up the fiber
trace, and displays the OTDR set-up conditions and measurements. Most OTDR displays
connect the data points with a line to provide a clearer look at the overall trace. You can
manipulate cursors on the screen to select any point on the fiber trace. The distance to the
cursor is displayed on the screen. An OTDR with two cursors will display the distances to
cursor and the difference in backscatter levels between them. You can choose the type of
measurement being made with the cursors, such as 2-Point Loss, dB/Km, Splice Loss,
andReflectance. The measurement results are shown on the display.

An OTDR display of a typical system

The OTDR can ‘see’ Fresnel reflections and losses. With this information, we
can deduce the appearance of various events on an OTDR trace as seen in
Figure 15.16.

A pair of connectors will give rise to a power loss and also a Fresnel reflection
due to the polished end of the fiber.
Fusion splice
Fusion splices do not cause any Fresnel reflections as the cleaved ends of the
fiber are now fused into a single piece of fiber. They do, however, show a loss
of power. A good quality fusion splice will actually be difficult to spot owing to
the low losses. Any sign of a Fresnel reflection is a sure sign of a very poor fusion
Mechanical splice
Mechanical splices appear similar to a poor quality fusion splice. The fibers do
have cleaved ends of course but the Fresnel reflection is avoided by the use of
index matching gel within the splice. The losses to be expected are similar to
the least acceptable fusion splices.
Bend loss
This is simply a loss of power in the area of the bend. If the loss is very localized,
the result is indistinguishable from a fusion or mechanical splice.
Ghost echoes (false reflections)
In Figure 15.17, some of the launched energy is reflected back from the connectors
at the end of the patchcord at a range of 100 m. This light returns and strikes
the polished face of the launch fiber on the OTDR front panel. Some of this
energy is again reflected to be re-launched along the fiber and will cause
another indication from the end of the patchcord, giving a false, or ghost,
Fresnel reflection at a range of 200 m and a false ‘end’ to the fiber at 500 m.
As there is a polished end at both ends of the patchcord, it is theoretically possible
for the light to bounce to and fro along this length of fiber giving rise to a
whole series of ghost reflections. In the figure a second reflection is shown at a
range of 300 m.
It is very rare for any further reflections to be seen. We have seen earlier that
the maximum amplitude of the Fresnel reflection is 4% of the incoming signal,
and is usually much less. Looking at the calculations for a moment, even assuming
the worst reflection, the returned energy is 4% or 0.04 of the launched
energy. The re-launched energy, as a result of another reflection is 4% of the
4% or 0.042 = 0.0016 _ input energy. This shows that we need a lot of input
energy to cause a ghost reflection. A second ghost would require another two
reflections giving rise to a signal of only 0.000 002 56 of the launched energy.
Subsequent reflections die out very quickly as we could imagine.
Ghost reflections can be recognized by their even spacing. If we have a reflection
at 387 m and another at 774 m then we have either a strange coincidence
or a ghost. Ghost reflections have a Fresnel reflection but do not show any loss.
The loss signal is actually of too small an energy level to be seen on the display.
If a reflection shows up after the end of the fiber, it has got to be a ghost.