What is an Optical Fiber?
Optical fibers are long, thin strands of very pure glass about the diameter of a human hair. They are arranged in bundles called optical cables and used to transmit light signals over long distances

Parts of an Optical Fiber 

Core - Thin glass center of the fiber where the light travels Cladding - Outer optical material surrounding the core that reflects the light back into the core

Types of Optical Fiber  

Single-mode fibers have small cores (about 3.5 x 10-4 inches or 9 microns in diameter) and transmit infrared laser light (wavelength = 1,310 to 1,550 nanometers). Multi-mode fibers have larger cores (about 2.5 x 10-3 inches or 62.5 microns in diameter) (wavelength = 850 to 1,300 nanometers).

Multimode fiber can also be classified into: A. Step-Index B. Graded-Index Step-Index Fiber has core which has fixed refractive index. Graded-Index Fiber has core whose refractive index is maximum at the center and decreases towards the cladding.

Step-Index and Graded Index Fiber

The Principle involved
Total internal reflection is an optical phenomenon that occurs when a ray of light strikes a medium boundary at an angle larger than a particular critical angle with respect to the normal to the surface. If the refractive index is lower on the other side of the boundary, no light can pass through and all of the light is reflected. The critical angle is the angle of incidence above which the total internal reflection occurs.

Core to Cladding Ratio

Fiber Optic Cables By construction types 

Simplex and Zip Cord Distribution Cables Breakout Cables Loose Tube Cables Armored Cable Aerial Cable

Color Codes of Indoor Cables

Cable Design Criteria 

Pulling Strength Water Protection Fire Code Ratings-All premises cables must carry
identification and flammability ratings per the NEC (National Electrical Code) paragraph 770.


NEC Rating

Optical fiber non-conductive Optical fiber conductive General purpose Riser rated cable for vertical runs Plenum rated cables for use in airhandling plenums Low smoke density

Cable Laying
The fibers should not be directly pulled. Do not exceed the maximum pulling load rating as rated by the manufacturer. Do not exceed the cable bend radius-Unless specified by the manufacturer the cable should not be pulled over a bend radius smaller than 20 times the cable diameter. Do not twist the cable Check the length Conduit and Innerduct

IEEE Recommended maximum cable distances


Data Rate (MBps) 10 100 100 1000

Cable Type
850 nm Multimode 50/125 or 62.5/125 1300 nm Multimode 50/125 or 62.5/125 850 nm Multimode 50/125 or 62.5/125 850 nm Multimode 50/125 850 nm Multimode 62.5/125 1300 nm Multimode 50/125 or 62.5/125 1310 nm Single mode 9/125 1550 nm Single mode 9/125

IEEE Standard Distance
2 Km 2 Km 300 m 550 m 220 m 550 m 5 Km 70 Km



Choosing a Cable
Cable Type
Tight Buffer Distribution

Premises Premises

Makes rugged patch cords Small size for lots of fibers, inexpensive Rugged, easy to terminate, no hardware needed Rugged, gel or dry waterblocking Prevents physical damage Highest fiber count for small size

Breakout Loose Tube Armored Ribbon


Outdoors Outdoors Outdoors








Choice of Connectors 


The connectors should be compatible with the fiber optic cabling. The connectors should be compatible with the equipment intended for use on the cabling. Provide adequate optical performance (loss and return loss) They should be compatible with the operating environment of the installation (temperature, humidity.) All fiber optic connectors should have a reference FOCIS document( Fiber Optic Connector Intermateability Standard ) published by TIA/EIA.

Termination Types  

Adhesive TerminationsEpoxy/Polish Hot Melt Anaerobic Adhesives Crimp Polish or Crimp/Cleave Terminations. Pre-polished/splice.

Splices are permanent joint or connection between two fibers. There are two types of splicing : 1.Fusion splicing- It is the method of welding two fibers
using an electric arc .

2.Mechanical splicing- It is the method in which two
fibers are aligned in ferrule with index matching gel between the fibers two minimize loss due to back reflection.


Splice Loss Mechanisms

End gaps cause two problems, insertion loss and return loss. The emerging cone of light from the connector will spill over the core of the receiving fiber and be lost. In addition, the air gap between the fibers causes a reflection when the light encounters the change n refractive index from the glass fiber to the air in the gap. This reflection is called Fresnel reflection

Splice Loss Mechanisms

The end finish of the fiber must be properly polished to minimize loss. A rough surface will scatter light and dirt can scatter and absorb light. Since the optical fiber is so small, typical airborne dirt can be a major source of loss. It is advisable to clean connectors with lint-free wipes moistened with isopropyl alcohol

Splice Loss Mechanisms

Two sources of loss are directional; numerical aperture (NA) and core diameter. Differences in these two will create connections that have different losses depending on the direction of light propagation. Light from a fiber with a larger NA will be more sensitive to angularity and end gap, so transmission from a fiber of larger NA to one of smaller NA will be higher loss than the reverse

Fusion splicing.

Industry standard of Splice Performance   

Splice performance shall be within industry accepted limits as specified by TIA/EIA 568 It specifies 0.3 dB loss in both single-mode and multimode fibers. However by fusion splice it was ensured that loss is 0.1 dB.

Fiber Optic Testing(Continuity) 

Visual Tracing-This type of test makes certain that 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". It looks like a flashlight or a pen-like instrument with a lightbulb or LED soure that mates to a fiber optic connector. 

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 red light even through many yellow or orange simplex cable jackets except black or gray jackets. 

Visual Fault Location-A higher power version of the tracer uses a laser that 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.

What is loss in Fiber Optic?
The difference between the power coupled into a component like a cable or a connector and the power that is transmitted through it. This difference is what we call optical loss and defines the performance of a cable, connector, splice, etc. Loss is measured in dB

Insertion Loss Tests
There are two types of direct loss test: Single-ended loss test. Double-ended loss test. There is an indirect loss test called OTDR test.

1. 2.

Single-ended Loss Method  



Single-ended loss is measured by connecting the cable under test to the reference cable and measuring the power at the far end by the power meter. The loss that we measure will include: Loss of the connector connected to the launch cable. the loss of any fiber, splices or other connectors in the cable under test.

Double-ended Loss Test
In a double-ended loss test, the cable to test is attached between two reference cables, one attached to the source and one to the meter. This way, we measure two connectors' loses, one on each end, plus the loss of all the cable or cables in between.

What Loss Should We Get When Testing Cables?
Fiber Type Multimode 50/125 Multimode 62.5/125 Single mode 9/125 Single mode 9/125 Wave length 850 nm 1300nm 850 nm 1300nm 1310 nm 1550 nm Fiber attenuation/Km 3.5 dB 1.5 dB 3.5 dB 1.5 dB 0.4 dB 0.3 dB Connector loss 0.75 dB 0.75 dB 0.75 dB 0.75 dB 0.75 dB 0.75 dB Splice loss 0.1 dB 0.1 dB 0.1 dB 0.1 dB 0.1 dB 0.1 dB

Note: These values are as per TIA/EIA and other industry specifications.

OTDR-Optical Time Domain Reflectometer

The OTDR, however, uses backscattered light of the fiber to imply loss. The OTDR works like RADAR, sending a high power laser light pulse down the fiber and looking for return signals from backscattered light in the fiber itself or reflected light from connector or splice interfaces.

Principle of OTDR

Fiber Optic Standards 

ITU is International Telecommunication Union; ITU-T is the telecommunication sector, which is applied to fiber optic industry. ISO is the International Organization of Standardization, which is a non-government organization working for industries and trade. ISO/IEC 14763-1 - Administration, documentation - similar to TIA 606 ISO/IEC 14763-2 - Planning and Installation - similar to TIA 569 ISO/IEC 14763-3 - Testing optical fibre cabling - included in TIA 568 TIA-568 or ISO/IEC 11801 deals with structured cabling inside premises. EIA-445 Fiber Optic Test Procedures (FOTPs)     

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