WHAT IS FIBER CHARACTERIZATION?
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WHAT IS FIBER CHARACTERIZATION?
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What is fiber characterization?
"Fiber characterization" is performing a comprehensive suite of tests that determine all of the key performance attributes of installed fiber infrastructure. The G.650.3 standard, includes this definition of fiber characterization: "A comprehensive suite of measurements that is carried out on a fiber optic cable link to determine the key performance attributes of that link which may affect current or future applications that operate over that link. Fiber characterization also allows the quality of the fiber optic cable link to be assessed, including the identification of the type and grade of fiber installed." Full fiber characterization includes:
Connector end face inspection
Insertion loss measurements
Return loss measurements
Chromatic dispersion testing
Polarization mode dispersion testing
The results of the characterization need to be documented and an important and valuable part of the process is the analysis and interpretation of the results.
This analysis should include an assessment of the infrastructure quality and its ability to support particular systems
What is Fiber Characterization:
Fiber Characterization is, "a comprehensive suite of measurements carried out on a fiber optic cable link to determine the key performance attributes of that link which may affect current or future applications." Fiber characterization also allows the quality of the fiber optic link to be assessed, including the identification of the type and grade of fiber installed.
Fiber Characterization Services:
(7 tests performed)
- OTDR Trace Analysis
- Insertion Loss Measurements
- Return Loss Measurements
- Visual Inspection (Connector End face)
- Chromatic Dispersion Testing
- Polarization Mode Dispersion
- Spectral Attenuation
Why are Fiber Characterization Services necessary?
As telecoms networks have to carry more and more traffic to meet the demands of the Internet and other "Bandwidth Bandit" applications, then the data rates are getting higher and higher. 10Gb/s systems are being widely deployed and people are once again starting to talk seriously about 40Gb/s channels. The next development of Ethernet will include 100 Gb/s. At these very high data rates then many aspects of the fiber infrastructure become critical including chromatic dispersion and PMD (Polarization Mode Dispersion). Also the power budgets become much tighter so loss measurements are more critical.
Broader wavelength ranges
In addition to high data rates per channel, there is also a proliferation of multi-channel systems using DWDM technology - and as more channels are required and the data rates increase then the total grange of wavelengths being used also increases. CWDM (Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing) is also being deployed extensively in metro networks - this uses a very wide spread of wavelengths (ITU 6.694.2 mentions 1271 to 1 61 1 but notes that these end points are illustrative only).
Therefore the fiber might need to be characterized to assess its performance at wavelengths other than those it was originally intended for and tested against. For example OTDR testing at 1625nm to verify satisfactory operation at wavelengths beyond 1550nm.
Once the fiber infrastructure has been characterized then the performance attributes of particular links can be compared with the transmission requirements of any application standard to assess whether or not the link will support the application.
System selection or specification
The fiber characterization may also provide essential information that is needed for selecting or specifying the transmission equipment that will operate over the links.
There are now many choices to be made about different technology options for high performance telecoms systems. These different technologies can have quite different tolerance to various infrastructure impairments - knowing how good, or how bad, the infrastructure is can influence the choice of technology to be deployed.
The presence of any defective components or problem areas in the infrastructure can be highlighted and recommendations made for any remedial work that needs to be carried out.
When are Fiber Characterization Services needed?
The demand for fiber characterization services is increasing in many territories due to the increasing complexity of the competitive telecoms markets. In the UK for example, there are many fiber networks operated by different companies. However there are very few new networks being built due to the very high cost of construction and the lack of money in the telecoms industry! This means that as new customers are signed up then often fairly complex dark fiber deals are being done sometimes with several different providers, to stitch together a new fiber route whilst installing the minimum amount of new fiber.
This fiber route then needs to be characterized.
Since there are few new cables going in, then network operators need to upgrade their existing infrastructure to operate at higher data rates and/or using DWDM or CWDM systems over extended wavelength ranges.
It is likely that older fibers were never tested for Chromatic dispersion or PMD. At 40Gb/s data rates it may be necessary to know the chromatic dispersion precisely so that it can be compensated for with sufficient precision. Following ITU Recommendations, an upgrade from 10Gb/s to 40Gb/s means that the CD compensation has to be 16 times more precise!
PMD was unlikely to be a limiting factor on the performance of 2.5Gb/s systems, but can become critical at 1 0Gb/s and at 40Gb/s it is likely to be a problem on many older fibers.
2005 onward saw a revival of merger and acquisition activity in the UK telecoms marketplace.-rho two major cable TV companies nil: and Telewest merged and are now Virgin Media; Cable & Wireless bought Energis; BskyB bought Easynet.
Due diligence studies by purchasers of networks may require an independent audit of the quality and value of the assets being purchased.
Although there are few new networks being installed in mature telecoms markets such as Europe, there are many territories where new networks are still being deployed. There's lots of activity in China & other Far East countries as well as development programs in Africa, Asia, and elsewhere
Fiber Characterization Standards
Here are details of the various standards bodies that may be able to provide some guidance on certain aspects of fiber characterization.
The international tensions Union - Telecoms division makes recommendations on all aspects of international telecoms systems including fiber optics.
The G.650.1 & 2 standards cover the testing of fiber and cable in a factory environment.
In June 2007, an initial version of G.650.3 was published that was meant to cover testing of installed links. Unfortunately this version of the recommendation was very poorly written. Richard Ednay of O-fTthenjoined ITU in order to re-write this Recommendation and the revised version was published in March 2008.
This second edition includes, for the first time anywhere in the standards, a definition of fiber characterization as given in the introduction to this module.
This Recommendation calls up the relevant IEC measurement standards for installed links detailed below.
AII ITU-T published, in-force, Recommendations are now available for free download from their website at www.itu.int
The International Electro-technical Commission sets standards for products and defines test methods. The Technical Committee 86 deal with fiber optics. Under this there are three Sub Committee:
SC86A: - deals with fibers and cables
SC86B: - deals with fiber optic interconnecting devices and passive components (connectors etc.)
SC86C: - deals with fiber optic systems and active devices (installed links, amplifiers etc.)
The 61 280-4-x series covers tests on installed cabling links, including attenuation, return loss and PMD.
61 280-4-2: - covers attenuation testing of singlemode links. Richard Ednay of OTT has been appointed as project leader to substantially re-write this standard to produce an initial draft in October 2008. This will also include return loss measurements that were originally destined to (40 into a separate 61 280-4-3 standard.
61280-4-4: - covers PMD test methods for installed links and the Technical Report 61282-9 provides further guidance on PMD test methods.
I IEC 61 300-3-35: - is a new standard for fiber optic connector end face inspection, due for publication in 2008.
There is a joint ISO/IEC Technical Committee 1 that deals generally with IT systems, Subcommittee 25 deals with “interconnection of information technology equipment” and undercoat there is a working group three that deals with “customer premises cabling”. Richard Ednay acts as liaison between this group and IEC SC86C.
Nowadays there is good harmonization of national, regional and standards international standards, so generally the relevant national standards bodies (such as the British Standards Institution in the UK, ANSI in the US etc.) and regional standards bodies (such as CENELEC in Europe) adopt the international standards and just add their own prefix to the standard to indicate that it has been 'rubber stamped' by them - egg. BS EN 60825 (laser safety).
In America the Telecoms Industry Association (TIA) and the Electrical Industry Association (EIA) have been active in developing and setting standards - and in the UK the Fibreoptic Industry Association (FIA) has developed some guidance notes. Often these bodies now feed their work into the international standards work
We can provide you our fiber characterization testing at your facility. Just call us and we will arrange to have one of our technical engineers call you to ask you pertinent questions as to the types of fiber you need tested and certified. A dark fiber supply contract for large rollouts , FTTh or carrier deployments can be a bit of a minefield, both for the supplier and for the purchaser. If you’re a supplier then you don’t want to agree to a specification that your existing cabling infrastructure won’t meet, And you don’t want to spend lots of time and money carrying out remedial work and replacing cables that aren’t up to scratch.But, you do want it to appear to your customer that your network is top quality and free from problems. Fiber characterization is defined as conducting a series of tests on an installed link in order to assess its general quality and its specific ability to support a particular application or applications. As data rates increase and systems become more complex there are many factors that can impair system performance.
So how is ‘fiber characterization’ different from just testing fibers?
Well historically, when long distance singlemode fiber links were commissioned it was common practice just to be concerned with the losses of the installed links usually at just two wavelengths - 1310nm and 1550nm. However, with DWDM systems and CWDM systems operating over wider wavelength ranges then the ability of the infrastructure to support these other wavelengths may also need to be verified. In addition, as data rates increase from 2.5Gb/s to 10Gb/s and up to 40Gb/s then the dispersion characteristics of the fiber become much more critical and additional tests are required including chromatic dispersion and polarization mode dispersion. With PMD the performance of the fiber can vary significantly from fiber to fiber within the same cable and so it is often necessary to measure every fiber and keep detailed records of which fibers can support which data rates.
Fiber characterization is the process of carrying out a comprehensive suite of tests that fully assess the capabilities of a fiber infrastructure.
If you’re a purchaser then you want to ensure that the infrastructure will support your current requirements with a minimum spend on equipment to light the fibers, as well as supporting any future upgrades that you’ll want to implement during the lifetime of the contract. However, you don’t want to pay over the odds for the dark fiber and you want everything to run smoothly without any delays. Often the contract details are pretty vague and it is not until the dark fibers have been fully characterized that their performance is known for certain.
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integrato and is one of the most experienced design-build structured cabling contractors in the USA. Along with being on of the most experienced phone system providers and data cabling contractors
in the United States offering a multitude of data communications
services from design-build structured cabling infrastructure, LAN- WAN integration,
long haul fiber optic cable installation to IT support and
service. ATEK Communications has offices throughout the US offers competitive regional and local data cabling rates allows us to tailor cabling and installation rates to meet your needs. ATEK has fiber optic crews specializing in fiber optic installations. Our fiber technicians are trained in intricate fiber cable installations, fiber cable terminations , fiber cable fusion splicing services and FTTH- design -build services. We have on staff BICSI trained and certified RCDD's should you need one for certifications. We have very competitive rates for our fiber optic installers. ATEK Communications has several manufacturer data contractor certifications offer you and your company "end to end" solutions for several manufacturers. Call for details at (888) 909-ATEK. WHAT IS FIBER CHARACTERIZATION?
ATEK Communications now offers national project management and national structured cabling & IT services for companies that need to outsource their telecommunications servicesand require National Cabling Contractor, National Structured Cabling Contractor,National Data Contractor, and National Project Management services. ATEK can assist a national chains or companies with multiple locations, such as franchises, drug stores, retail stores through our field offices and affiliated BICSI certified national installers fully versed in fiber optic distribution designs and installations. We offer a wide range of services from structured cabling services, IT services, fiber optic cabling, WIFI, VOIP. and much more.We can help you integrate data and telecommunication services throughout the entire United States..
Our customer service department, systems engineers, contracts coordinator and
technical support staff have an in-depth knowledge of the telecommunications
industry. We work closely with our customers to develop and deliver
innovative solutions for the most challenging, business critical requirements.
ATEK also welcomes the opporunity to work with the Department of Defense in securing our nation's network security by offering our fiber optic cabling and fiber optic security systems.
Our certified RCDD, Certified Network Specialist and BICSI Technicians work as team to bring the latest fiber optic technologies to our customers. We provide design, installation , and certifications of fiber optic cabling systems in central offices, POP sites, commercial, and residential sites. Our certified RCDDs and LAN/WAN Specialists work closely with contractors and end users to deliver the latest cabling technologies that best suit the needed applications.
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ATEK Communications service comes with a guarantee of quality and a commitment to support. Because we feel so strongly about professionally serving our clients, we offer on and offsite services designed to meet your needs:
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National Account Staging/Redistribution Of Equipment & Personnel
With most companies these are 'mission critical components'- ATEK offers the following:
Kitting-Receive shipments and equipment- ATEK will consolidate-combine-build-racking-fiber optic- equipment for your company offsite- and re-distribute to other locations for you
Discounted hardware-we can offer extreme discounts for all your hardware equipment including fiber optic cable, gigabit ethernet switches, routers, hubs, patch panels- patch cords.
Let ATEK "bundle" your equipment and installation costs under one contract- let us do all the work for you from design to installation to 24/7 warranty-network administration
Check for damage to any equipment during shipment
Record serial numbers for all equipment
Set up equipment in the prestage area
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Configure system and software
Run diagnostics and customer-provided tests, including tests of input and output devices
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fiber optic cabling system designs are reviewed and installations quality checked
by a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD). This is a professional
designation of the Building Industry Consulting Services International (BICSI).
We ensure that the fiber optic cabling system design, components, and workmanship
comply with the standards and practices of BICSI. These standards and practices
are elaborated in the Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual, the EIA/TIA
Telecommunications Building Wiring Standard, The National Fire Protection Assn.,
and the National Electrical Code (NFPA-70). Our fiber optic certifications, extensive
experience on fiber optics installation, and knowledge of fiber optic technologies
and standards are key factors in our successful delivery of fiber network solutions.
leading fiber optic suppliers. Together we can deliver the solution that best
meets your application needs, now and long term.
Cabling- Fiber Optics -Call us at (866) 650-DATA
Fiber Optic Services Include:
certified RCDDs a nd LAN/WAN Specialists work closely with contractors and end
users to deliver the latest cabling technologies that best suit the needed applications.
and Installation of Fiber Optic Cabling
and Installation of WDM-DWDB-CWDM- MRV Certified
Optic Cable Installation
Fiber Optic Cable Installation
Aerial Fiber Optic Cable Installation
Office Fiber Optic Cable Installation
(Colocation) Fiber Optic Cable Installation
Interconnection Units and Fiber Shelves
Testing and Certifications
Tray and Raceway
and Freestanding Cabinets and Racks
Optic Fusion and Mechanical Splicing
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Communications, a proven data contractor can provide you with a complete set of
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and our manufacturer partners, you are assured that our technicians adhere to
all the latest EIA/TIA standards. ATEK now also offers certified CISCO CCIE network
This insures that you will get maximum bandwidth and
performance from your cable plant. Your network is only as good as your weakest
link. Remember that even if you have purchased the best cabling on the market
today, it doesn't guarantee that you will get maximum performance and throughput
that it was engineered for.
Your cabling must be installed by a technician
who understands and adheres to all the latest EIA/TIA standards. ATEK Communications
is a cabling contractor that is Leviton certified on structured cabling EIA-TIA
568 A&B Standards that provides structured cabling contracting services, network
design & installation, gigabit ethernet switch installation, smart home installations,cable
testing, telephone systems and Cisco CCIE network installations. See our
section on cabling standards.
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