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Lecture II: Telephone systems

References

 Carlson, “Communication Systems”, McGraw-Hill: 1987


 J.G. Proakis, “Digital Communications”, McGraw-Hill: 1995.
 P. Mandarini, “ComunicazioniElettriche”, Vol. I e II, EditriceIngegneria 2000, Roma: 1989
 Copy of course/lecture notes (usually available on student’s email addresses before lecture
time).
 Papers and chapter books referenced in specific course parts (mentioned in the course notes).

2.1 POTS – Plain old telephone system


Guiding Qn:
1. Describe using a diagram, a typical POTS network of several exchanges.
2. Using the layout of network showing how a subscriber can be connected to the exchange, explain the
following in terms of construction, location purpose and its make up if applicable.
a) Telephone exchange
b) Cabinet
c) DP
3. Assuming you are an investor coming to Uganda with a Company called ‘GTC Telecoms Ltd’, describe
in one page what type of network you will setup (GSM or POTS) and why, stating clearly the
advantages and disadvantages of each.
2.2 Mobile systems
Figure 1 below, is a GSM system architecture.

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Um Abis A

SIM
BTS

VLR HLR

PSTN
BSC MSC ISDN
BTS
PDN
MS

BTS

EIR AuC

BSS NSS

Fig: GSM system architecture


Basic GSM Network consists of MS, BSS and NSS;
 MS. This is carried by the subscriber. It consists of;
 ME. Mobile equipment, hand portable or vehicle mounted unit.
 SIM. Subscriber identity module, it contains the entire customer related information
(identification, secret key for authentication etc)
 BSS. Controls radio link with mobile station. It consists of;
 BTS(Base Transceiver Station). It defines a cell and is responsible to establish the radio link
control protocol with MS.
BTS Provides physical connection between MS and BSC.
- Transmitting power determines the size of the cell.
- Provides radio channel to carry traffic and control signals.
- Have several antenna system (1 to 16 radio transmitter/Receivers) modules.
- Interface between MS and BTS is radio or UM
 BSC (Base Station Controller). Controls multiple BTSs and manages radio channel set up and
handovers. BSC is the connection between BTS and the MSCs.
BSC is a small digital exchange that connects many BTS’s thus reducing radio related load from MSC.
- Performs functions such as handover and power control
- Interface between BTS and BSC is Abis.
 Network & Switching Subsystem (NSS). Mobility management and Switching of calls between
mobile users and between mobile and fixed network users.
It consists of:
 MSC. It’s the central component of the NSS.

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- Operates all switching functions for mobiles within its jurisdiction,
- Interfaces with mobile and other (Including fixed) networks,
- Manages the location of mobile
- Switches calls
- Manages security features
- Controls hand over between BSCs
- Resources management
- Interworks with and manages network database
- Collect call billing data and sends to Billing center
- Collects traffic statistics for performance monitoring.
MSC is the Central component used to route calls within PLMN and to interface with PSTN/ISDN. It
works in conjunction with a set of registers to fulfill the NSS requirement. The BSC and MSC are
connected through the A-interface.
 HLR. Contains all subscriber information for the purposes of call control and location
determination. It’s a Centralized Permanent register of all subscribers. It stores information such
as Subscription information, allowed services, authentication information etc. This information
may be obtained by the VLR/MSC when necessary. When the subscriber roams into the location
area of another VLR/MSC, the HLR is updated. The communication between MSC, VLR and HLR
is done using the MAP (Mobile Application Part) of the Signaling System 7.
 VLR. It’s only a temporary storage while the particular subscriber is located in the geographical
area controlled by the MSC/VLR. The VLR can be associated with one or several MSCs. To ease
signaling one per MSC is recommended. The VLR stores data about all customers who are
roaming with in the location area of that MSC.
 AUC. Is a protected database that stores the security information for each subscriber (A copy of
the secret key is stored in the SIM). Database used for security purposes to provide parameters
needed for authentication and encryption.
 EIR. It contains three list of IMEI number; White list - Valid mobile equipment in the network,
Grey list - Suspected numbers, Black list - Totally barred.
It’s an optional register. Its purpose is to register IMEIs of mobile stations in use. By
implementing the EIR the network provider can blacklist malfunctioning MSs or even receive
reports to the operations center when stolen mobile stations are used to make calls.

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Subsystems in GSM mobile networks:
Radio Sub System (RSS)
RSS = MS + BSS
BSS = BTS+ BSC
Network Sub System (NSS)
NSS = MSC+ HLR + VLR + GMSC
Operation Sub System
OSS = EIR + AuC
2.2.1 Base station system
DXU – Distribution Switch Unit
TRU – Transceiver Unit
- One TRU handle 8 air time slots
- Perform Channel Coding, Interleaving, Ciphering, Equalization
- One transmit output, two receive inlets
CDU – Combining and Distribution Unit
ECU – Energy control Unit
PSU – Power supply units

Figure 2: Base station system


2.2.2 Antenna System
- Can be located on a mast, top of a building or under a ceiling.
- GSM antennas are Omni-directional (Whip antenna) or directional (sectored) for both outdoor
and indoor system.

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a) Mast with limited space b) An antenna array on top of an Electricity pylon

2.2.3Read about the design criteria for mobile cellular networks:


 Geometrical layout of a cellular network;
 Computation of the minimum cell power;
 Frequency reuse in cellular networks;
 Computation of the co-channel reuse factor;
 Frequency reuse in CDMA cellular networks.

2.2.4 Handover in mobile cellular networks


Introduction:
What is handover?
As most of you may know, mobile communication is cellular. This means that the area of coverage is
segmented into cells, each one served by a base station. When a mobile user is moving across the
coverage area, he/she is passing through different cells and his/her communication should be
guaranteed without perceivable interruption during this passage. A procedure explicitly devoted at
managing the “transparent” transition of the user from a cell to another one, with the consequential
allocation (and deallocation) of radio resources for the mobile communication is called handover.

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Handover and cellular networks evolution
Handover and 1st generation cellular network:
In old analog cellular networks (like AMPS and TACS), handover was not implemented, as cell dimension
was very large and coverage was only local (not global). During its travel, mobile terminal generally very
rarely came out from the coverage area and in these rare cases, the interruption of the call was
accepted.

2nd generation cellular networks:


In 2nd generation cellular networks (GSM), the network coverage was global and QoS requirements
imposed smaller cells (1Km of radius). Therefore, handover is regarded as an essential operation.

Cellular networks: 3G and 4G:


In 3G systems, the handover is becoming more and more important, as the cell size is reducing in order
to guarantee a broadband link capability. Moreover, transparent roaming (or vertical handover) should
be guaranteed among heterogeneous wireless networks. Seamless vertical handover will be a basic
feature of 4G.

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Basic principles and requirements of the handover procedure.
Basic principles:
During a call, the signal received by a mobile terminal is continuously monitored. When an anomalous
situation is detected (e.g. the signal level is strongly decreasing) a trigger signal is issued. When the
trigger signal is received, the network controller searches for a new cell, because it assumes that the
current cell is no longer able to provide a satisfactory QoS. If the controller finds a new cell, it allocates
new radio resources to the new base-station to support the call and releases old resources previously
allocated to the “old” BS in order to support other calls.

Handover requirements:
 Handover should efficiently support terminal mobility(mobile handover)
 Handover should recover a call in the case of bad link quality(emergency handover)
 Handover should balance the traffic among different cells(traffic handover)
 Handover should optimize radio resource management
 Handover should minimize terminal power consumption.

Handover phases
Handover operation is articulated into three distinct phases:
 Monitoring (link measurement);
 Triggering (handover activation);
 Execution (commutation of the call from a cell to another one).

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Handover time constraints
 The main constraint of the handover operation is represented by the cell crossing time
 The computation time required by the measurement phase must be less than the cell crossing time
 The target cell to which the call should be routed should be found during the measurement phase
and the handover procedure activated with a suitable anticipation
 Finally handover execution should be as faster as possible in order to avoid that user “realizes”
about a forced switching(with unpleasant “click” effects or call interruptions).

Handover procedure: measurement phase


Measurement phase (parameters to be measured):
 Handover procedure requires that a set of parameters are continuously monitored:
o Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI)
o Bit-Error-Rate (BER)
o Distance between mobile terminal and base station (mobile terminal are localized using
RSSI measures)
o Base Station identity
o Base station broadcast channel frequencies
o Channel positions (in the time-frequency domain).

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 Such kind of measurements are managed by means of devoted signaling channels transmitting
fixed data strings from BS to MT
 A measurement report, containing all the set of measured parameters is periodically sent to the BS
by the MT (measurement period of GSM: 480msec).
Hypothesis on the channel:
 The test of link status is mainly performed by means of RSSI. This means that we are supposing that
the received signal is affected only by pathloss.
 If RSSI is decreasing, pathloss is increasing and, therefore, network controller assumes that MT is
going further and further from the “measured” BS.
 Also for handover, two-level mobile channel model is assumed “by default”. Multipath fading is
regarded here as a “side effect” to be managed in some way.
Candidate cell selection:
 The measures of parameters are processed in order to predict the cell to which MT is moving during
its travel. In such a way, a set of candidate cells is selected.
 Let’s consider the algorithm of candidate cell selection employed by IS-95 (a similar algorithm is
employed by GSM).
Cell selection algorithm is mainly based on the definition of some thresholds on RSSI, partitioning the
measured cells into different hierarchical sets. Cell sets are lists of channels that are dynamically
updated.
 The cell sets partitioned by the threshold criterion can be listed as follows:
o Active set containing only the channels of the BS currently serving the MT.
o Candidate set containing all channels related to other BSs than can provide a QoS very
similar to the current one. These BSs are supposed to be very close to our MT
o Neighboring set, containing all channels related to BSs that are not satisfying the threshold
criterion to be included in the active or candidate set, but they are able to provide a fair QoS
as well.
o Residual set, containing all other channels (not included in previous sets).
Threshold criterion
 A cell is moved from a set to another one on the basis of a threshold criterion. Each set is
characterized by its own threshold on RSSI.
 A cell sends its identification before sending on the devoted channel the signaling bits.

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 If RSSI coming from a cell overcomes the threshold related to its current set, the cell is moved to a
higher-level set in the hierarchy.
 On the other hand, if RSSI undergoes the aforesaid threshold, the cell is moved to a lower-level set.
 Problem: possible “ping-pong effect” due to multipath fading.

Moving a cell from a list to another

Associate delay for cell selection


 In order to avoid the aforesaid ping-pong effect, cell selection waits for a given time interval before
moving a cell to list to another one.
 This “guard-interval” is called associate delay. It is implemented by means of a counter.
 The counter is started as soon as the RSSI of the pilot channel goes down the set threshold.
 The decision is suspended until the counter is working. In the meanwhile the RSSI is continuously
measured.
 If the counter ends its counting and RSSI is still lower than the set threshold, the cell is moved to a
lower-level set.
 If during counting, RSSI again overcomes the threshold, then the counter is immediately reset.

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Associate delay and decision of cell removal
 A decision of cell removal from a list is taken when:
o The associate delay reaches its deadline
o A new item should be added to a list, but the list is full. In such a case, the cell of the list
whose associate delay is closest to the deadline (FIFO policy).
 The associate delay is chosen in dependence of channel parameters. A reasonable choice should
consider making it equal to the coherence time of the channel.

Handover procedure: Triggering phase


Handover triggering
 Network controller (installed inside the MSC) reads the measurement reports periodically sent by
MT.
 As soon as the network controller realizes that the MT is going out the current cell and is coming
into a new cell, it triggers the handover.
 Triggering means decision before execution.
 Triggering is very critical. A false handover would be turned on a waste of radio resources and,
definitely in a QoS decrease.
Criteria adopted for handover triggering
 Triggering is issued when some conditions related to the link status are verified.
 The basic criteria adopted for handover triggering issue are:
o Relative power criterion
o Relative power and threshold criterion
o Relative power and hysteresis margin criterion
o Relative power, threshold and hysteresis margin criterion.
 Relative power criterion
 Upon this criterion, handover is triggered when the power received by the current BS drops below
that one received by a cell of the candidate set.
 This criterion is very simple and prevents from handover missing.
 However, this criterion is too much selective. In fact, it could issue a handover when the current BS
is still able to provide a satisfactory QoS.
 Moreover, the probability of unnecessary (false) handover in the presence of shadowing can be
high. In the case of multipath fading, the risk of ping-pong effect becomes very relevant.

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 Relative power and threshold criterion
 A threshold is added to the relative power criterion. Handover is triggered only when two conditions
are satisfied in AND:
o The power received by the current BS drops out that one received by a candidate cell
(relative power criterion);
o The power received by the current BS drops out a given quality threshold.
 In such a way, the risk of unnecessary handovers is limited, however the choice of the threshold is
very critical, in particular when we are considering the presence of shadowing and/or multipath
fading.
 The risk is to have false handovers due to a deep fade or a shadow. This could suggest us to decrease
the threshold. But, such a solution may not be convenient (risk of missed handover).
 Relative power and hysteresis margin
 Just than a threshold, it may be more convenient to introduce an hysteresis margin to the
relative power criterion. In this way, we implement the criterion of relative power with
hysteresis margin.
 Actually, the handover is triggered only when the power received by the current BS drops out
for a fixed hysteresis margin the power received by a candidate cell.
 The hysteresis margin is chosen in order to counteract unexpected propagation impairments: it
can be related to some channel parameters: shadow standard deviation, fade amplitude, etc.
 Relative power with hysteresis and threshold
 Handover triggering in GSM joins all the criteria shown before.
 The handover is triggered when:
o RSSI from a candidate cell overcomes a fixed threshold (AND);
o RSSI from a candidate cell drops out the power received from the current cell (AND);
o The difference between two power level overcomes the hysteresis margin.

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Handover procedure: Execution phase
Handover execution:
 After triggering, handover is executed.
 Handover execution, substantially, allocates radio resources for the connection between the MT
and the new BS, releasing those “old” radio resources that were exploited during current cell
crossing.
 Handover procedure can be executed with different modalities. In particular, we are speaking
about hard, seamless and soft handover.
Hard handover
 Handover procedure is “hard” when the allocation of the radio resources for the new link is
performed only after the release of the “old” radio resources.
 Practically, the call is switched from the old BS to the new one. The switch involves an interruption
of the call.
 In order to make such an interruption as shortest as possible, the procedure for link activation are
conveniently anticipated.
 Data transmission from the old BS and routing of the call towards the new BS are simultaneously
performed. This involves that MSC should manage the entire handover operation, since beginning
to the end.

Advantages and disadvantages of hard handover


 Hard handover is very efficient in managing radio resources, as a single channel is used per call
without introducing any waste and redundancy.
 Its main disadvantage is that the probability of call interruption (and missing) is not negligible.

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 Hard handover is employed in GSM standard. Radio resources in GSM are severely constrained and
(re)-used. Therefore, it is reasonable to maximize the efficiency in radio resource exploitation.

Seamless handover
 During the seamless handover the link with the old BS and the new one are employed together in
parallel.
 Therefore, the data flow is transmitted simultaneously by the two BSs: the old and the new one
(see Figure below).

 The call switch is not performed at PHY-layer level(like in hard handover), but at network level. After
the virtual switch, the old radio resources are released. Seamless handover exhibits a redundancy in
radio resource management that allows to limit the probability of call blocking.
 The main drawback of this method lies in the waste of radio resources, involved by the redundancy.
 Seamless handover found very limited applications (it is employed in DECT standard for cordless
telephony).

Soft handover
 Soft handover is typical of CDMA systems(IS-95, UMTS).
 The two data links of the old base station and that one of the selected candidate cell are activated in
advance.

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 The mobile terminal is connected to the two different base stations by means of two different radio
links.
 Cell radio resources are, mainly, CDMA channels (spreading codes) sharing the same bandwidth.
 The two links can be regarded as different paths carrying the same data streams (macro-diversity).
 Soft handover continuously allocates and release radio resources to new links, depending on the
channel conditions.
Soft handover: advantages and disadvantages
 Main advantage: improvement of quality of service
 Main disadvantage: increase of the computational burden, charged on the mobile terminal (it must
manage more than one channel).
 Future trends: soft handover.

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2.3 Optic fibre Cables
What an optical fiber is.
It is substantially a waveguide made of glass that propagates a light signal by exploiting variations of the
refraction index of the waveguide material.
These variations determinate successive reflections and refractions of the transmitted optical signal
through the waveguide.
Signal propagation over optic fiber is due to these successive reflections and refractions. We can study
signal propagation by considering two different approaches:
- Geometrical optic approach
- Formal approach based on Maxwell’s equation.
It's the communications technology that works by sending signals down through thin strands of glass
fiber (and sometimes plastic fiber.) Optical fiber consists of a very fine cylinder of glass (core)
surrounded by concentric layers of glass (cladding).

Signal-encoded beam of light (a fluctuating beam) is transmitted by total internal reflection. Total
internal reflection occurs in the core because it has a higher optical density (index of refraction) than the
cladding.
Attenuation in the fiber can be kept low by controlling the impurities in the glass.

POF (plastic optical fibre) is a newer plastic-based cable which promises performance similar to glass
cable on very short runs, but at a lower cost.
2.3.1 Optical fiber transmission modality
The light source is a photodiode (LED, LASER) that is operated at the maximum power(ON->”1”) or
switched-off(OFF->”0”).It is NOT an electric signal that is transmitted, JUST a light signal.

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The light signal is transmitted at a given wavelength. Therefore, the light signal is propagated through
the fiber and gathered at destination by an inversely-polarized photodiode(opto-electronic conversion).
An electric OOK signal is therefore regenerated and binary data estimated.
Refraction and reflection of the light beam
When the light beam a walks across a surface interfacing two propagation means, characterized by a
step variation of the refraction index (e.g. glass-air), the following situation can be noted:

a = incident beam
a’ = reflected beam (medium 1)
b = refracted beam (medium 2)
1 = incident angle
 2 = refraction angle
Snell’s law

n1 sin 1  n2 sin 2
sin 1 n2

sin  2 n1

sin 1  sin 2 if n2  n1
Total reflection of the light beam
By increasing the incident angle, the refracted beam should trend to become more and more distant

from the normal axis of the fiber. The maximum value of the refraction angle is  2   .
2

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In such a last case, the refracted beam has not produced and we have the overall light energy reflected
inside the medium 1.
This is the so-called total reflection of the light beam. The total reflection of the light beam happens
when the following condition are fulfilled.

2.3.2 Transmission techniques


Multi-Mode Step Index fiber has a little bit bigger diameter, with a common diameters in the 50-to-100
micron range for the light carry component (Most common size is 62.5um). In most applications in
which Multi-mode fiber is used, 2 fibers are used (WDM is not normally used on multi-mode fiber).
Multimode fiber gives you high bandwidth at high speeds over medium distances. Light waves are
dispersed into numerous paths, or modes, as they travel through the cable's core typically 850 or
1300nm. Typical multimode fiber core diameters are 50, 62.5, and 100 micrometers. However, in long
cable runs (greater 914.4 meters), multiple paths of light can cause signal distortion at the receiving end,
resulting in an unclear and incomplete data transmission so designers now call for single mode fiber in
new applications using Gigabit and beyond.

In Multimode fiber, the Core diameter ~ 50 – 100 µm. Light is propagated through many pathways
(modes)
Multimode graded-index fiber contains a core in which the refractive index diminishes gradually from
the center axis out toward the cladding. The higher refractive index at the center makes the light rays
moving down the axis advance more slowly than those near the cladding. Also, rather than zigzagging
off the cladding, light in the core curves helically because of the graded index, reducing its travel
distance. The shortened path and the higher speed allow light at the periphery to arrive at a receiver at
about the same time as the slow but straight rays in the core axis. The result: a digital pulse suffers less
dispersion.

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Single Mode fiber is a single stand (most applications use 2 fibers) of glass fiber with a diameter of 8.3 to
10 microns that has one mode of transmission. Other names of SM are: Mono-mode optical fiber, single
mode fiber, single-mode optical waveguide, uni-mode fiber.
Single Modem fiber is used in many applications where data is sent at multi-frequency (WDM Wave-
Division-Multiplexing) so only one cable is needed - (single-mode on one single fiber).
Single-mode fiber gives you a higher transmission rate and up to 50 times more distance than
multimode, but it also costs more. Single mode fiber has a much smaller core than multimode. The small
core and single light-wave virtually eliminate any distortion that could result from overlapping light
pulses, providing the least signal attenuation and the highest transmission speeds of any fiber cable
type. Single-mode optical fiber is an optical fiber in which only the lowest order bound mode can
propagate at the wavelength of interest typically 1300 to 1320nm.

In Single-mode fiber, the Core diameter ~ 8 – 10 µm. Light follows a single pathway (Ray optics is not
adequate to describe single-mode fibers, a full EM description is necessary.
2.3.3 Fiber propagation path loss
The fiber propagation path loss is exponential with the distance (as usual in wired lines):

Kilometric attenuation constant (depends on the physical characteristics of the fiber and on the signal
wavelength).
2.3.4 Advantages of fiber optic cable over copper
- Bandwidth: large carrying capacity- up into the gigabits.
- Distance: signals can be transmitted further without needing to be "refreshed" or strengthened.
- Resistance: greater resistance to electromagnetic noise such as radios, motors or other nearby
cables.
- Maintenance: fiber optic cables costs much less to maintain.

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2.3.5 What's the best way to terminate fiber optic cable?
That depends on:
- the application
- Proper training.
- Cost considerations and your own personal preferences.
- Connector types

Splicing: A splice is a device to connect one fiber optic cable to another permanently. It is the attribute
of permanence that distinguishes a splice from connectors. Nonetheless, some vendors offer splices that
can be disconnected, i.e. not permanent so that they can be disconnected for repairs or
rearrangements.
Reason for splicing:
• To realize a link of a particular length.
• At building entrances, wiring closets, couplers and literally any intermediary point between
Transmitter and Receiver.
There are two principal types of splices: fusion and mechanical
Fusion splices - uses an electric arc to weld two fiber optic cables together. The splices offer
sophisticated, computer controlled alignment of fiber optic cables to achieve losses as low as 0.05 dB.
This comes at a high cost.
Mechanical splices -They are easily applied in the field, require little or no complicated tool required
and offer losses of about 0.2 dB.

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2.3.6 Link Budget
A power budget for the design of a fiber optic data link is normally given with the following attributes:
- Data Rate of 50 Mbps
- BER of 10-9
- Link length of 5 km (premises distances).
- Multi-mode, step index, glass fiber optic cable having dimensions of 62.5/125 microns (core /
cladding, 1 micron = 10-6m)
Table 1 below is an Example of a Power Budget for a fiber optic data link

2.3.7 Signal distortions over optical fibers


Intermodal dispersion
What intermodal dispersion is?
It is a distortion typical of old fibers (70’s and early 80’s) characterized by wide diameter core.
It is due to the fact that different beams accepted by the fiber can propagate through different paths
inside the core. Each path (called “fiber mode”) is characterized by its own length: therefore different
propagation delays are associated to different modes.

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c sin 
vg  , propagation velocity associated to the mode
n1
Effects on the transmitted signal:
Let’s suppose to transmit two symbols (e.g. OOK symbols) along two different beams, having different
incident angles. This implies that the two symbols will propagate through two different fiber modes.
There will be a differential delay between the two received symbols (see Figure below):

Single-mode optical fibers totally eliminate intermodal distortion. Is therefore single-mode optical fibers
capacity infinite? Of course, it isn’t. In fact, there is propagation impairment also in single-mode optical
fibers. In geometric optics approach we consider the refraction index as a constant parameter. Truly,
this is not so. Refraction index depends on the wavelength (glass is a dispersive material), i.e.:

Maximum differential delay between two fiber modes


The maximum differential delay between two fiber modes is the differential delay between the longest
path and the shortest path, i.e.:

Additional Reference: G.P. Agrawal, “Fiber Optic Communication Systems”, 2nd edition, Wiley: 1997

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2.3.5 Testing
After the cables are installed and terminated, it's time for testing. For every fiber optic cable plant, you
will need to test for Continuity (visual inspection / visual tracer / connectors / Splices), Loss testing, and
Network Testing (power).
Special tools and instruments are required to test fiber optics.
Preparation: - Tools required:
1. Source and power meter, optical loss test set or test kit with proper equipment adapters for the
cable plant you are testing.
2. Reference test cables that match the cables to be tested and mating adapters, including hybrids if
needed.
3. Fiber Tracer or Visual Fault Locator.
4. Cleaning materials - lint free cleaning wipes and pure alcohol.
Know the network you're testing:
Make sure you have cable layouts for every fiber you have to test.
Prepare a spreadsheet of all the cables and fibers before you go in the field and print a copy for
recording your test data. You may record all your test data either by hand or if your meter has a memory
feature, it will keep test results in on-board memory that can be printed or transferred to a computer
when you return to the office.
A note on using a fiber optic source eye safety...
Fiber optic sources, including test equipment, are generally too low in power to cause any eye damage,
but it's still a good idea to check connectors with a power meter before looking into it.

Continuity tests - Visual Inspection


Visual Tracing:

Test (Reference) cable

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Continuity checking makes certain the fibers are not broken and to trace a path of a fiber from one end
to another through many connections. Use a visible light "fiber optic tracer" or "pocket visual fault
locator".
Attach a cable to test to the visual tracer and look at the other end to see the light transmitted through
the core of the fiber.
Visual Fault Location:
A higher power version of the tracer uses a laser that can also find faults. The red laser light is powerful
enough to show breaks in fibers or high loss connectors. You can actually see the loss of the bright
redlight even through many yellow or orange simplex cable jackets except black or gray jackets.
Visual Connector Inspection
Fiber optic microscopes are used to inspect connectors to check the quality of the termination
procedure and diagnose problems. A well-made connector will have a smooth, polished, scratch free
finish and the fiber will not show any signs of cracks, chips or areas where the fiber is either protruding
from the end of the ferrule or pulling back into it.
Measuring power
Power in a fiber optic system is like voltage in an electrical circuit.
Measuring power requires only a power meter set to the proper range usually dBm, sometimes
microwatts) and the proper wavelengths matching the source being used.
The meter is attached to the cable at the output and the transmitter is turned on. The value measured is
compared to the specified value.

Test (Reference) cable

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Testing loss
Loss testing is the difference between the power coupled into the cable at the transmitter end and what
comes out at the receiver end.
Testing for loss requires measuring the optical power lost in a cable (including connectors, splices, etc.)
with a fiber optic source and power meter by mating the cable being tested to known good reference
cable.
In addition to the power meter, you need a test source. The test source should match the type of source
(LED or laser) and wavelength (850, 1300, 1550 nm).

What Loss Should You Get When Testing Cables?


 For each connector, figure 0.5 dB loss (0.7 max)
 For each splice, figure 0.2 dB
 For multimode fiber, the loss is about 3 dB per km for 850 nm sources, 1 dB per km for 1300 nm.
This roughly translates into a loss of 0.1 dB per 30m for 850 nm, 0.1 dB per 91.4 m feet for1300
nm.
 For single mode fiber, the loss is about 0.5 dB per km for 1300nm sources, 0.4 dB per km for 1550
nm.
So for the loss of a cable plant, approximate loss is calculated as: (0.5dB X # connectors) + (0.2 dB x #
splices) + fiber loss on the total length of cable

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