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Know your Fiber

Fiber Health
Few of the parameter to determine health of fiber

Span Loss
Section Loss
Number of Section
Event Loss
Splice Loss
Positive Event
Picture explaining Fiber span/ Section (4 sections shown here ) / Event (3 Events shown here)
Event / Splice Joint

Event / Splice Joint

Section 1
Location A

Section 4
Location B

How do we check these parameters

OTDR Report helps us know better about the above parameters

What is OTDR & how it functions?

Optical Time Domain Reflector is an optoelectronic instrument to characterize an Optical fiber. An OTDR injects
a series of optical pulses into the fiber under test. It also extracts, from the same end of the fiber, light that is
scattered (Rayleigh backscatter) or reflected back from points along the fiber. (This is equivalent to the way that
an electronic time-domain reflectometer measures reflections caused by changes in theimpedance of the cable
under test.) The strength of the return pulses is measured and integrated as a function of time, and is plotted as
a function of fiber length.

What each Parameter means to you?

Span Loss
Overall Loss on fiber from Location A to Location B for which the OTDR is taken

Section Loss
Section Loss denotes the loss on a fiber for piece of fiber used from one joint to another joint (on a
complete span, Single Fiber Span will always have many fiber sections joined together to connect
Location A to Location B)

Number of Section
As a single span of fiber is connected by multiple small sections of fiber, number of section denotes
how many joints /section of fiber is used to complete the fiber span

Event Loss
Loss seen at the end of every section of fiber, the event can be formed because of splicing or
physical joint made (using connectors) or cable bend
Splice Loss

Loss seen on fiber joint due to splicing of fiber (joining of two disjoint fiber)
Positive Event
As we travel down the fiber, the loss of fiber increases there by reducing the transmit power but in
case of positive event loss is a negative value and it shows as if power is added back, in such cases
bidirectional OTDR is suggested for getting exact report on fiber quality

What to read /check / act from OTDR report

1. SPAN losses more than 0.4 dB/Km on an average, then work with fiber vendor to
reduce it
2. Section losses more than 0.4 dB/Km to be taken up with Fiber Vendor for
replacement with alternate fiber for that section
3. Event Loss/Splice Loss of more than 0.1dB has to be fixed by Fiber Vendor
4. Number of section should not be more and it can be on a average 1 per 1.5Km of
(Ideally 15Km fiber can have 10 sections)
5. Go for other direction OTDR when many positive event are seen
6. If both direction has positive event, take bidirectional report and work with fiber
vendor based on it

How to read / share an OTDR report

Capture the OTDR as mentioned and save the file (normally saved as . trc extension)

Share the file by saving it as PDF format while sharing to others on email. Share .trc
file only when you need help on analysis of the OTDR or asked for it.
Open the file with . trc extension using EXFO OTDR Application within the EXFO
ToolBox Office to view the file

View of EXFO OTDR Application

Diagram below shows a 1310nm report loaded for view in the application



Fiber Section with

Considerable Loss


Fiber Section with

Loss more than


Event Loss in dB

Shows complete
OTDR trace

Helps in measuring Loss &

Attenuation for any two

Set SPAN section

based on our choice
(changes not suggested)

Event Tab shows Event by

Event analysis
(Event can be splice joint or
bend or Connector Joint)

Understanding Event Info on a Report

Line 1
Line 2
Line 3
Line 4
Line 5

Picture showing a snippet from Event information table of an OTDR report ( 5 lines of information listed)

Line 1
Shows the
reflectance value
along with
attenuation which
is not needed for
us and can be

Line 2

Line 3

Line 4

Line 5

Shows the fiber

section of fiber)
denotes by straight
line. Column 1
denotes the
distance of that
fiber and Column 3
shows the loss on
that fiber. Column
5 shows the loss of
fiber/Km if the
same type of fiber
is used. Column 6
shows the overall
loss on the fiber till
that Event

Shows the joint

information with
column two
denotes the
location of joint
and column 3
showing the loss
on that joint
followed by
Column 6 showing
the overall
(cumulative loss)
on the fiber span
till that Event

Shows the same

information as Line
2 indicates running
distance of fiber
for the new fiber
section on Column
1, followed by loss
on that section of
fiber and loss/Km if
we have to run the
same fiber

Shows the same

information as Line
3 with Column 2
indicating distance
of joint & Column 4
indicating loss on
that joint followed
by last Column
showing overall
loss till this Event

Highlighting the cursor on fiber section will shift Cursor A & Cursor B on the trace to indicate the selection

Understanding Trace Info on a Report

Picture showing Trace info tab information of an OTDR report (shows complete information of OTDR Trace )

Span Length ( Overall Length of the fiber )

Span Loss ( Overall loss on the fiber span )
Avg Loss ( Loss / Km on the fiber span )
Avg Spice Loss ( Loss / spice on fiber span )
Pulse ( Pulse used during OTDR test )
Wavelength ( wavelength used during OTDR test )
Range (Range used/set during OTDR test )
Date & Time of report (when the test was conducted )

Important Points to Note while doing OTDR test

No power transmitted on the fiber . Test to be done only on dark fiber (fiber that doesnt carry any light)
Test for 1550nm wavelength preferred and with all setting tune to AUTO mode (first test)
Second test to be done with manual setting (if needed by fine tuning default values derived fromo AUTO mode)
Pulse can be reduced (provided it can cover the distance of fiber)
Make OTDR declare result as pass/fail based on pre-set values ( setting splice loss/Event loss/ attenuation loss per
km, etc.. )
OTDR for first few Kms/Meters of fiber can be taken by reducing the pulse to 1ns/10ns
Trace fiber from Location A to Location B by transmitted some power and label each fiber strand to avoid confusion
Make sure not to save OTDR report of 1st fiber & 2nd fiber with proper names, so that in case of any bidirectional OTDR
test needed, we are able to co-relate fiber report of same fiber taken from both end .
Bidirectional OTDR report analysis can be done only using Software after its installation (CD is sent with all OTDR) on a

All OTDR files to be shared in PDF format only (when emailing to group ids or larger audience )
Only share OTDR reports taken using our OTDR for any analysis or suggestion you might need
OTDR report doesnt match the above standards (refer slide 4 ) will induce errors on fiber
Get guidance from NetOps when needed while doing OTDR

Thank You