Engineering Services Department 800 17th Street NW PO Box 489 Hickory, NC 28603-0489

t 800 743-2671 f 828 901-5533

www.corning.com/cablesystems

Applications Engineering Note

OTDR Return Loss Measurement
AEN 33, Revision #3
Revised: September 24, 2002

This Applications Note provides graphs to estimate Optical Return Loss (ORL) for such components as connectors, couplers, or mechanical splices by measuring pulse reflection height with an OTDR. Many OTDR’s are capable of reporting optical return loss by having the functions described in this Applications Note built into the software. Figure 1 is a representation of an OTDR trace being used to measure ORL. Changing the OTDR's resolution, pulse width, or wavelength causes a shift in the OTDR trace. However, it is important to note that the ORL is unchanged. ORL is a function of the refractive index discontinuity and not OTDR settings, which are accounted for in the graphs. Figure 2 illustrates an OTDR trace where the reflection has saturated the receiver. If saturation is present (noted by the flat “top” on the reflection spike) optical return loss cannot be measured. Saturation can be reduced by using shorter pulse widths on the OTDR. Shortening the pulse width will shift the OTDR trace down and the entire reflection spike may be visible.

© 2000, 2002 Corning Cable Systems LLC. All rights reserved.

The following equation determines ORL:

ORL = B - 10 log10

P [(10 5

- 1) D]

(1)

Where: B = Fiber backscatter level (in dB) below the input power level at the item being measured. (For example: B≈ 82 dB for single-mode fiber.) P = Reflection height (in dB). D = Pulse width (in ns) as set on the OTDR. Figure 3 is a representation of equation 1 with a fiber backscatter level B = 80 dB. Similar graphs can be generated for other backscatter levels. Table 1 provides typical fiber backscatter levels for Corning Cable Systems Fiber. These levels are to be entered into OTDRs and are used by the OTDR Software when calculating ORL. Typical Fiber Backscatter Levels 850nm 1300nm 1310 nm 1550 nm --77 dB 82 dB -68dB 67dB -76 dB 74 dB 77dB --80 dB ---

Single-Mode SMF-28, SMF-28e Dispersion Shifted 50/125 62.5/125

1625 nm 83 dB dB ---

Table 1
Fiber optic components are manufactured to meet a wide range of system performance requirements. Table 2 provides the typical minimum return loss values for Corning Cable Systems components. Typical Minimum Return Loss Values PC Connector 30 dB Super-PC Connector 40 dB Mechanical Splice 45 dB Ultra PC Connector 55 dB

Table 2
For more information please see: Corning Cable Systems Applications Note-"Fiber Reflections" EIA/TIA-455-8, "Return Loss for Fiber Optic Components" "Reflections and Fiber Video Systems", Arthur F. Judy
Page 2 of 3 © 2000, 2002 Corning Cable Systems LLC. All rights reserved

Optical Return Loss vs Reflection Height for various pulse widths Backscatter Coefficient = 80

90 10 ns 25 ns 50 ns 100 ns 250 ns 500 ns 1000 ns 2500 ns 5000 ns 10000 ns 20000 ns 30000 ns

80

70

60

50

40

Optical Return Loss (dB)

30

20

10

The graph is used to determine Optical Return Loss where the fiber backscatter level is 80 dB as follows:

1.

Given the OTDR reflection height (P in Figure 1) of the item being measured, enter the graph (x-axis), on the curve corresponding to the OTDR pulse width (Note: Pulse width (in meters) x 10 = Pulse Width in ns).
Page 3 of 3 © 2000, 2002 Corning Cable Systems LLC. All rights reserved

2.

Optical Return Loss can then be read on the y-axis.

0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0 7.5 8.0 8.5 9.0 9.5 10.0 10.5 11.0 11.5 12.0 12.5 13.0 13.5 14.0 14.5 15.0 15.5 16.0 16.5 17.0 17.5 18.0 18.5

0

Refle ction Height (dB)

Figure 3

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful