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Fibre testing is done using various techniques depending on the project specific requirements and customer requirements.
Simple testing can be as little as using a visual light source to prove continuity and alignment to using OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer).
The visual red light is great for quickly fining broken fibres of correctly identify number of fibres. Simply attached the LED red light source to the end of a fibre and the light will escape at a break or high loss point. The red light is limited by distance so can only visually identify fault up to 5km.
The is a more formal test that requires a device to be attached to each end of a fibre path. The Light Source is placed at one end with the Power meter at the other. The Light source will emit light at a given wavelength and pulse width with the Power Meter recording the result at the other end. By using the attained reference, you can work out the loss over the fibre path. This is then referenced against the permissible loss aloud over a given length to determine if the cable section has passed and is fit for service.
The OTDR is used to inject a laser into the fibre to determine the cables length and also pick up any losses along its path. These losses can represent Joint losses, pressure points and cable mismatch. By using different wavelengths, experienced operators can determine the different types of losses, how high they are as well as locate them up to 100km away.
Passive Optical Network testing is done using a PON meter. PON testing provides and inline real life working environment. Testing at multiple wavelength the PON meter can activate end equipment to simulate a customer connection. This is widely used in the NBN Co FTTX environment nationwide. Simple and quick to use it provides a cost effective way to get fibre connections certified.