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  1. 1. OPTICAL TIME DOMAIN REFLECTOMETRY (OTDR) Dr. BC Choudhary Professor, NITTTR, Chandigarh
  2. 2. OTDR Models
  3. 3. WHAT IS AN OTDR? • Also allows splice and connector losses to be evaluated as well as location of any faults on the link. • Also called backscatter measurement method. • It relies upon the measurement & analysis of the fraction of light which is reflected back within the fiber’s numerical aperture due to Rayleigh scattering within the fiber. • A small proportion of the scattered power is collected by the fiber in backward direction and returns to the transmitter, where it is measured by a photodiode.  A measurement technique which provides the loss characteristics of an optical link down its entire length giving information on the length dependence loss.
  4. 4. Back Scattering of Light Incident light wavelength Rayleigh scattering Brillouin scattering Raman scattering (Anti-stokes) Raman scattering (stokes) Wavelength intensity Depending on temperature Depending on strain and temperature
  5. 5. • In operation, an OTDR launches pulses of light into the line fiber of an optical network and monitors the backscatter signal as a function of time relative to the launch time. • As the pulse propagates down the fiber it becomes weaker with increasing distance due to power loss, and the measured backscatter signal decreases accordingly. • The rate of signal decrease for a continuous section of fiber represents the fiber loss and any abrupt drops correspond to losses from the presence of components, terminations or faults which can be readily identified.  OTDR - the Industry standard for measuring the loss characteristics of a link or network, monitoring the network status and locating faults and degrading components.
  6. 6. Principle of OTDR Distance z = t.V /2 t : two-way propagation delay time V : velocity of light in the fiber Transmitted light Incident light (Pulse) scattering light Back scattering light Laser Detector Fiber core z
  7. 7. where; Pi - optical power launched into the fiber. S - fraction of captured optical power. R - Rayleigh scattering coefficient. wo - input optical pulse width. vg - group velocity in fiber.  - attenuation coefficient per unit length for the fiber.  The received backscattered optical power as a function of time ‘t’ down an uninterrupted fiber is given by: ) t v exp( . v . w . . S . P 2 1 ) t ( P g g 0 R i Ra      Generally, OTDR output is expressed in dB relative to the launched power, and the directly measured loss is then halved electronically before plotting the output trace.
  8. 8. OTDR Display
  9. 9. OTDR Testing to locate a fault point
  10. 10. Events in OTDR Traces  In addition to decaying signal associated with the fiber losses; • Abrupt drops in the backscatter signal on the trace: Losses due to the presence of non reflective elements such as fused coupler components, tight bends or splices. • Presence of large return pulses - arise from Fresnel reflections- followed by a drop in the background signal: Fiber interruptions at connectors, non-fiber components, termination or breaks.  Such readily identified features on the OTDR signal  Events Their location and loss associated with them may be obtained directly from the trace.
  11. 11. Dead Zones and Ghosts  Large Fresnel reflection signals can cause problems for the detection system- they lead to transient but strong saturation of the front end receiver which requires time to recover.  Dead zones arising from large Fresnel reflection signals from the fiber input and output(s) – near and far end dead zones respectively.  Usually detection of strong Fresnel reflected pulses from the fiber interruptions or termination drive the receiver into deep saturation. The length of the fiber masked in terms of event detection by this way is known as a Dead Zone The length of which is determined by the pulse width and, for reflection events, by the amplitude of the reflected pulse.
  12. 12. Full OTDR trace of fiber reel at 1550 nm. • Fiber attenuation = 0.185 dB/km • Fiber length = 2.014 km
  13. 13. Expanded trace to show near end dead zone (NEDZ). Fluctuations in the trace after the NEDZ are due to the detection electronics (receiver).  Strong Fresnel reflections can give rise to dead zones of the order of hundreds of meters corresponding to detector recovery periods of many tens of receiver time constant, whereas splices result in dead zones of only a few tens of meters.
  14. 14. Near end dead zone and event dead zones present greater problems in shorter networks.  Large Fresnel reflected pulses from the terminations of shorter branches of a network are reflected again from the fiber input face to repeat the journey to the termination and back to the detector.  If the signal strength is sufficiently high, these multiply reflected pulses will be detected and will appear on the OTDR trace as what are referred to as Ghosts.  Ghosts are much smaller than the detected pulses from primary Fresnel reflections and appear at exact integer multiple distances relative to a primary reflected pulse.  Many OTDRs incorporate a dead zone masking feature, which can be set up, to selectively attenuate large incoming reflected signal pulses just for the period over which they arrive  prevent deep saturation and hence minimum dead zone.
  15. 15. Trace with a ghost after Far end dead zone  Ghost signal is displayed at twice the fiber length.  Can be confusing if appear within the maximum length of a network, mostly appear in the noise region.
  16. 16. Measurement Resolution & Event Location  Spatial Resolution: One of the key performance features of an OTDR – depends upon receiver BW and input pulse width  Minimum separation at which two events can be distinguished as determined by the pulse width. • For good resolution of 10m or less, require a 50ns pulse.  Length of the fiber; L = vg.t ; vg = c/ne (ne- effective fiber index) • Typical, ‘ne’ for fibers ranges from 1.45-1.47 • With this data, pulse travel approximately 1m in 5ns means that a pulse width of 5ns in time has a spatial width of 1m. • By definition, two events may be distinguished if they are separated by ½ of the spatial pulse width – Spatial resolution of the instrument- is defined as half the pulse width in time. For pulse width of 50ns, spatial resolution is 5m.
  17. 17.  Time Resolution: The precision to which a feature can be located depends on the precision with which the OTDR can measure the arrival time of an event and the accuracy to which the propagation velocity is known.  Uncertainty in the measurement of arrival time can be very much less than the pulse width and hence event location in principle may be achieved with a precision which is much better than the spatial resolution. • Timing resolution of the instrument is simply the sample period used in the signal averaging scheme under a given set of circumstances, and this corresponds to a spatial sample in the fiber which can be taken as the precision to which event distances can be measured. • The sampling period and its corresponding sample length in space (range resolution) vary enormously depending on the distance range addressed and the number of samples used.
  18. 18.  Typically, however, time resolution is much less than the spatial resolution. • For example, if the spatial resolution is 10m (for a 50ns pulse) on a range setting of 4km, the event distance (range) resolution may be 2m corresponding to 2048 samples being used to record the return signal from the 4km path. • With the home-in feature on some instruments we can examine a 1km section of the 4km range using 4096 samples to achieve a range resolution of 0.25m for a spatial resolution of 5m.
  19. 19. Dynamic Range, Range & Range/Resolution trade-off • The peak power from the laser is limited, but the pulse width may be increased to deliver greater energy into the fiber at the expense of resolution. • With wide, high energy pulses and the levels of averaging, the peak SNR at the beginning of a trace, referred to as the signal dynamic range of the instrument, can be as high as 35dB.  Range – maximum length of fiber which can be measured- is determined by the signal dynamic range and is the fiber length at which the signal has decayed to become equal to the noise.  Obviously, the greater the energy of the launched pulses, the better the SNR will be before and after averaging.
  20. 20. Example: In a system based on the fiber with an attenuation coefficient of 0.2 dB/km and in which the total loss of the components, splices and connectors is 10dB, • A good OTDR with a 35dB dynamic range can probe to range of 125 km.  Point to remember: As we decrease the pulse width (energy) to improve the spatial resolution, the dynamic range will also be reduced and the range of the instrument will be diminished;  There is a range/resolution trade-off to be considered using these instruments.
  21. 21. Technical Specifications of an OTDR
  22. 22. OTDR Trace Analysis of Networks  OTDR traces are analyzed to provide information about the loss of a network & whether or not the loss is increasing with time due to introduction of faults (sharp bend, breaks) or the degradation of components (splices, couplers, WDMs etc.). Schematic of a network, spices are shown as dots.
  23. 23. OTDR trace of fiber link with one splice Testing port 1: Fibers with a single splice.
  24. 24. OTDR measurement of coupler losses Testing of a Coupler spliced to fiber OTDR trace of single splice and coupler
  25. 25. Testing Three component network (WDM, 2 couplers) OTDR trace of 3 component network Events Distance Near end 0 WDM 265 Coupler 1 443 Short arm end 587 Coupler 2 804 Short arm end 941 Far end 1089
  26. 26. Fault Diagnosis with OTDR  Link Loss Measurements : If loss is higher than its limit, then OTDR testing is required to check the link health  OTDR Testing : It will give graphical presentation with loss table of each splice  Bi-directional Testing : We have to take OTDR traces from both ends
  27. 27. Distance Based Analysis  Distance between A and B is 10 km.  OTDR distance up to cut point C from A is 6 A B C 6.001 Km OTDR distance from point B to check, if it is 4 km  a single cut. If OTDR distance from point B is less than 4 km  a possibility of multi cut.
  28. 28. Distributed Sensing OTDR Measurand field M(z,t) M(z,t) z M(t) Fiber
  29. 29. Quasi-Distributed Sensing • FBG (Fiber Bragg Grating) • Strain, Temperature OTDR Measurand field M(z,t) M(zj,t) z M(t) Fiber Sensitized regions
  30. 30. Optical Network Analysis with OTDR
  31. 31. If you have any query, feel free to contact : Dr. BC Choudhary, Professor NITTTR, Sector-26, Chandigarh-160019. Phones: : 0172- 2791349, 2791351 Ext. 356 , Cell: 09417521382 E-mail: <>