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 Loss- dB
 Fundamental Of
 Power, Laser Source
 Link Loss Budget
Loss and it’s origin

Loss in optical power due

 Micro bending
 Macro bending

Scattering, Primarily Rayleigh scattering, also

contributes to attenuation. Scattering causes the
light energy to be dispersed in all directions, with
some of the light escaping the fiber core. A small
portion of this light energy is returned down the
core and is termed “backscattering”.
Absorption may be defined as the conversion of
light energy to heat, and is related to the
resonance in the fiber material. There are
intrinsic absorption (due to fiber material and
molecular resonance) and extrinsic absorption
(due to impurities such as OH- ions at around
1240 nm and 1390 nm).
Bending losses which are caused by light escaping
the core due to imperfections at the core/clad
boundary (microbending), or the angle of
incidence of the light energy at the core/cladding
boundary exceeding the Numerical Aperture
(internal angle of acceptance) of the fiber due to
bending of the fiber (macrobending).
Single mode fibers (for example) may be bent to a
radius of 10 cm with no significant losses, however
after the minimum bend radius is exceeded,
losses increase exponentially with increasing
radius. Minimum bend radius is dependent on fiber
design and light wavelength.
Example of different types
of Loss
Input Power :
Pi (w)
Loss = Pi -Po
Output Power:
Loss (dB) = 10*log10 (PiPo (w)
/ Po)

Loss per unit length (dB/Km) =

(10/L)*log10 (Pi / Po)

What do u mean by
3dB loss?
What is “dBm” and Why
“dBm” ?
In Telecommunication transmitted power
is very much low. ( in range of “mw” to
“Microwatt” ).

dBm :
It is output power in decibel (dB) for unit
milliwatt input power.

Remember : 5 dBm - 4 dBm = 1 dB

( not dBm)
What is “dBm” and Why
“dBm” ?
Optical Time Domain Reflectometer
Course Objectives

 Principles Of OTDR
 Block Diagram of OTDR
 Specifications of OTDR
 Using an OTDR(Operation of OTDR)
Principles Of OTDR
 An OTDR is a fiber optic tester characterizing fibers and
optical Networks

 The aim of this instrument is to detect,locate and

measure events at any location in the fiber optic link

 An OTDR can test a fiber from only one end,that is it

operates as a one dimensional Radar System

 The OTDR technique produces geographic information

with regard to localized loss and reflective events
providing a pictorial and permanent record which may be
used as a permanent baseline
Principles Of OTDR(Contd..)
 The OTDR’s ability to characterize a fiber is
based on detecting small signals returned to
OTDR in response to the injection of a large

 OTDR depends on two types of Optical


Rayleigh Backscattering
Fresnel Reflections
Rayleigh Scattering

 Rayleigh scattering is intrinsic to the fiber material

itself and is present all along the length of fiber

 If Rayleigh scattering is uniform along the length of

fiber, then discontinuities in the back scatter can be
used to identify anomalies in transmission along the
length of fiber
Fresnel Reflections

 Fresnel reflections are only point events

 Fresnel reflections occur only where the fiber

comes in contact with air or any other media
such as at a mechanical connection/splice or
OTDR Block Diagram

 Light from the source is coupled to the fiber using a coupling device

 If there are any non-linearities there will be a reflected ray from the
fiber,which is coupled to the photodiode using a coupler

 A pulse generator controls the LASER DIODE which sends powerful

light pulses to the fiber

 These pulses can have a width in the order of 2ns upto 20msec and
a reoccurrence of some KHz
 The duration of the pulses can be selected by the
operator for different measuring conditions(The
repetition rate is limited to the rate at which the pulse
return is completed, before any other pulse is

 The OTDR measures the time difference between the

outgoing pulse and the incoming backscattered pulses
and hence the word “Time Domain”

 The power level of the backscattered and reflected

signal is sampled over time

 Each measured sample is called an “Acquisition


 These points can be plotted on an amplitude scale with

respect to relative timing of launch pulse

 It then converts this time domain information into distance

based on the user entered index of fiber

 The RI is inversely proportional to the velocity of propogation

of light in the fiber

 OTDR uses this data to convert time to distance on the OTDR

display and divide this value by two to take round trip(or two
way)into account
Typical OTDR Trace
Typical OTDR Trace
Apparent Signal Gain
OTDR Trace with Fiber Break
OTDR Time to Distance

V(Group Delay)=c/n
C: Velocity of light in Vacuum
n: Refractive Index

OTDR Time to Distance Conversion(Round Trip):

L(Distance) = v(Group Delay) * t/2
= (c/n) * t/2
OTDR Specifications

Dynamic Range

Dead Zone




Dynamic Range

 Dynamic Range determines maximum observable

length of a fiber and therefore OTDR suitability for
analyzing any particular network

 The higher the signal to noise ratio,and the

better the trace will be,with a better event
Dead Zone

 OTDR is designed to detect the back scattering level all

along the fiber link, it measures back scattered signals
which are much smaller than the signal sent to the fiber

 The device that receives these back scattered signals is

an OTDR, which is designed to receive a given level range

 When there is a strong reflection,then the power received

by the photodiode can be more than 4000times higher
than the back scattered power and can saturate the
Dead Zone

 The photodiode requires time to recover from the

saturated condition, during this time it will not
detect any signal accurately

 The length of the fiber which is not characterized

during recovery is termed the dead zone
Dead Zone
Sampling Resolution
 Sampling resolution is the minimum distance
between two acquisition points

 This data resolution can go down to centimeters

depending on pulse width and range

 The more data points an OTDR can acquire and

process, the more the resolution
Distance Resolution

 Distance resolution is very similar to sampling resolution,

if OTDR samples acquisition points every 1meter,then
only it can locate a fiber within +/- 1meter

 The distance resolution is then like sampling resolution, a

function of pulse width and range
Attenuation vs Distance with increasing

 The accuracy of measurement is the capacity of

measurement to be compared with a reference value

 Linearity Accuracy: Determines how close an Optical

level corresponds to an electrical level across the whole

 Distance Accuracy: Depends on the accuracy of group

index(Index of refraction refers to a single ray in a
fiber,while group index refers to propogation of all the
light pulses in the fiber)
 OTDR’s measure according to wavelength

 The major wavelengths are: 850nm, 1310nm and

1550nm A fourth wavelength is now appearing for
monitoring live systems which is 1625nm

 The wavelength is usually specified with central

wavelength and spectral width

 The attenuation of wavelength varies with wavelength,

and any measurement should be corrected to
transmission wavelength or to the central wavelength
Using an OTDR

We can broadly define the use of OTDR in two


 Acquisition Step:where the unit acquires data and

displays it graphically or numerically

 Measurement Step:Where the operator analyzes the

data and makes a decision based on the results to either
store,print or go to the next acquisition
There are three major approaches to configure an OTDR:

 A user may simply let the OTDR to auto configure and accept
acquisition parameters selected by OTDR(Automatic)

 A user may allow the OTDR unit to auto configure, analyze the
results and change one or more parameters accordingly(Semi

 A more experienced user may choose not to use auto

configuration feature altogether and enter the acquisition
parameters based on his experience(Manual)
Acquisition Parameters
Given below are various acquisition parameters and
effect on the resulting trace:

 Injection Level

 Wavelength

 Pulse Width

 Range

 Averaging
Injection Level
 Injection level is defined an the power injected into the fiber
under test,the higher this level the higher the power level

 The presence of dirt on connector faces and damaged or low

quality pig tails or patch cords are the primary cause of low
injection levels

 Mating a dirty connector with a OTDR connector may scratch

the OTDR connector,degrading the OTDR launch conditions

 Some OTDRs will display the measured injection level during

real time acquisition or just prior to averaging
OTDR Wavelength

 A fiber must be tested with same wavelength

as that used for transmission

 For a given dynamic range 1550nm will see

more distance than 1310nm

 Single mode fiber has more mode field

diameter at 1550nm that at 1310nm
OTDR Wavelength
•1550nm is more sensitive bends than 1310nm(as shown in the graph
Pulse Width
 The OTDR pulse width controls the amount of light that
will be injected into the fiber(It is the time for which the
Laser is on and determines the resolution of waveform)

 Longer the pulse width, more light is injected into the fiber

 Longer pulse widths also produce longer dead zones in the

OTDR trace waveform where the measurements are

 Short pulse widths inject lower levels of light but reduce

dead zone
Pulse Width

 By reducing the pulse width, there is a reduction in the dead zone of the fiber,compared to that of
a larger pulse width and also an increase

 But with the reduction in the pulse width, there is a reduction in the dynamic range, a reduction in
the sensitivity of the receiver and also the distance

 By proper selection of pulse width we can optimize the use of OTDR for making fiber

 Range of an OTDR is the distance over which it can

acquire data samples

 The longer this parameter the more distance OTDR will

shoot the pulses

 This parameter is generally set to twice the distance of

the end of fiber
 The OTDR detector works with extremely low optical
power levels(as low as 100 photons per meter of fiber)

 Averaging is the process by which each acquisition point

is sampled repeatedly and the results averaged to
improve signal to noise ratio

 Averaging can be done by selecting the time of acquisition

or the number of averages, the longer the time or higher
the number of averages,the more signal the trace
waveform will display in random noise conditions
Modes Of Operation Of OTDR
Free Run Mode(Real Time):

 It continually sends laser pulses down the fiber under test

and obtains back scatter

 This mode is useful for optimizing fiber alignment

 The waveforms obtained in free run mode contain

unacceptable amounts of noise making it impossible to
determine small attenuation changes such as non-
reflective splices
Noise in Free Run Mode
Modes of Operation of OTDR
Averaging Mode:

 In the averaging mode each pulses are averaged from

that of preceding pulses which makes the trace appear
clear for each of the succeeding pulses

 The number of samples that are to be averaged is

predefined for an OTDR

 The larger the number, the longer the OTDR takes for
displaying the results

 Recent OTDR specifies their averaging in terms of time

taken for display, instead of number of samples
Acceptance Test

Acceptance of fiber uses OTDR(TO measure

loss per km):

 This loss measurement is wavelength dependent,

so the OTDR is set to the wavelength which
matches with the fiber systems operating

 When using an OTDR to make any measurement it

is critical to correctly place reference markers so
that the OTDR can display the loss & distance
between them
Loss and Span Length
 This test has to be conducted in averaging mode, when ever
we choose averaging mode a trace will be displayed

 To make any measurements it is critical to correctly place

reference markers so that OTDR can display loss and
distance between them

 For making this measurement,a trace is obtained on OTDR in

real time mode

 Place the reference markers accurately, first reference

marker is placed exactly where the back scatter starts,that is
beyond dead zone(correct point is on the trailing edge of the
Span Loss and Span
 Then move the cursor to end of the trace and place the
second marker before the Refractive fiber end , the
correct point is where the slope starts increasing faster
than the normal slope of the trace

 To exactly locate these reference markers use the

horizontal and vertical zoom controls

 Now choose the averaging mode and the display gives us

the loss per span and the span length
Attenuation of Splice or

 OTDR can be used to measure splice or connector

loss, in order to do this a marker is placed on
either of the aberration of the OTDR trace

 OTDR will then display the attenuation between

the two points

 The vertical separation of the two marker points

is the attenuation of the splice or the connector
Attenuation of Fusion Splice
 Fusion splice has a loss value which is very
negligible,so to accurately measure this value
the OTDR is used in averaging mode

 To measure the loss value,first amplify the

slope the of the OTDR trace and then place the
two reference points on either side of the

 To accurately place the markers use horizontal

and vertical zoom controls
Automatic Operation

 In two cursor method, sometimes the cursor might not have

been placed properly and the OTDR also adds some losses
and there by increasing the loss value

 For short distance applications the effect is negligible,but

becomes highly pronounced for long haul

 Fortunately, most OTDRs have the provision to perform


 That is, in averaging mode the OTDR displays the splice loss
as well as the connector loss systematically on the trace
Ghost Reflections

 Sometimes there will be Fresnel reflection at

points where it is not expected-usually after
end of fiber,this usually happens when large
reflection occurs in a short fiber

 The reflected light actually bounces back and

forth within a fiber,causing one or more false
reflections to show up at multiple distances
from the initial large reflection
Ghost Reflections
 Another type of ghosting happens when you set the range
shorter than the actual length of the fiber

 This allows OTDR to send additional pulses of light into the

fiber before all the backscatter and reflections from the
first pulse have cleared the whole fiber

 When more than one pulse in the fiber at one time,a

condition will be setup where returned light from different
pulses arrive at the OTDR at the same time producing
“Unpredictable results”
Ghost Reflections
Ghost Busting Techniques used to determine if ghosts
are occurring and eliminate them:

 Measure the distance of the suspect reflection,then place a

cursor half this distance on the fiber if an expected reflection is
at half way mark,then the suspect is probably Ghost

 Suppress or reduce the known(true)reflection,by making the

amount of reflected power smaller, the ghost will also be
reduced .To reduce the reflection, index matching gel at the
reflection, or reduce the amount of power going to the
reflective point by selecting a shorter pulse width
Ghost Reflection
Ghost Busting Techniques used to determine if
ghosts are occurring and eliminate them:

 Change the distance Range(Display Range)of the OTDR.In

some OTDRs,a ghost is caused when the Distance Range
is too short
Increase the Range setting and ghost may disappear

 If a ghost seems to occur in the fiber,then measure the

loss across the suspected reflection.A ghost will show no
loss across it when you do a splice loss measurement
Observations & Conclusion
Observations & Conclusion
Various Instruments used for
Fiber Testing
(Power Meter,Laser Source,OTDR
EIA / TIA Standards defining
standardized fiber optic test
Power, Laser Source Test
OTDR can measure loss then why we
the loss with Power meter and Laser
source again?
The most accurate way to measure overall
attenuation in a fiber is to inject a known level of
light in one end and measure the level when it
comes out the other end.
Measurement of Loss in a Fiber
using a LASER Source and a
Power Meter
BER Test Using a VOA

To measure BER of a Optical Receiver,a VOA is used

along with a BER Transmitter

As the attenuation increases, a technician can see the

value of attenuation that causes a significant increase in
the BER of the receiver
Link Loss
What is Link Budget?

Computation of all the losses that

comes into account from the source
node to the destination node taking
into account all the losses is called
link budgeting for that particular link
• General Losses:
- Fiber Loss
- Total connector loss
- Total Splice loss

• Specific Losses:
- Total other component loss
- Manufacturer’s Specifications
- Total power penalties
General Losses(Typical
•Fiber Loss
 Attenuation for 1310nm:0.3dB/km(G.652)
 Attenuation for 1550nm:0.25dB/km
 Largely due to impurities and imperfections
in the glass of the fiber

•Connector Loss
 Connections at the termination points of
fiber,patch panels in a site, Optical
cross connects(OXC)
Conservative estimate is 0.5dB/connection

•Splice Loss
Splices due to construction and repair
Conservative estimate is 0.1dB/splice
Span Loss Analysis

 Compares the allowable span loss for equipment against

the total losses of the span.

 The allowable span loss is the Transmit Power minus

the Receive Power Level.

 The total losses on the span is the sum of all attenuation

due to fiber,connections,splices and other factors.

 If the total span loss does not exceed the allowable span
loss the system should work on this span.
Computation of Span Loss
Total losses = (fiber length* loss/km) +
(connector loss* No. of connectors)
(No. of Splices)*(loss/splice) +
(loss due to components) + other

Span loss Allowed = Tx power - Receiver


Span loss Margin = Total losses - Span loss

Attenuation/Span Loss

Tx Rx
0.5 dB 0.5 dB 0.5 dB
Tx Output Rx input
+0.5 dBm needed
-25 dBm
37km @ .
22km @ .25dB / km
= 5.5dB
=9.25 dB
Attenuation/Span Loss Example...
Span Loss Analysis:
Total Attenuation:
Tx Power : 0.5dBm
Rx Sensitivity :
Connector: 1.5dB -25dBm
Fiber1: 5.5dB Available for span: 25.5dB
Fiber2: 9.25dB Available for span: 25.5dB
Splices: 0.9dB Attenuation on span:
Total 21.25dB 21.25dB
Span Loss Margin:
Signal is the information carrying optical pulse,Noise is the
optical “static”created in the system

Optical amplifiers amplify both signal and noise

 If the signal travels long enough and through enough

amplifiers,the noise will overwhelm the signal

 This limits the number of consecutive amplifiers in an

amplifier based system,before an optical-electrical-optical
conversion is needed to restore the signal to clean low-noise