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Short for Optical Time Domain Reflectometer, an instrument that analyzes the light loss in an optical fiber in optical network trouble shooting. An OTDR injects a short, intense laser pulse into the optical fiber and measures the backscatter and reflection of light as a function of time. The reflected light characteristics are analyzed to determine the location of any fiber optic breaks or splice losses.

It’s the single most important tester used in the installation, maintenance & troubleshooting of fiber plant

Most versatile of Fiber Test Tools

  • Detect, locate and measure events at any location on the fiber link
  • Identifies events & impairments (splices, bends, connectors, breaks)
  • Provides physical distance to each event/ impairment
  • Measures loss of each event or impairment
  • Provides reflectance / return loss values for each reflective event or impairment
  • Manages the data collected and supports data reporting.


Her some OTDR examples:

OTDR Block diagram


  • The OTDR injects a short pulse of light into one end of the fiber and analyzes the backscatter and reflected signal coming back
  • The received signal is then plotted into a backscatter X/Y display in dB vs. distance
  • Event analysis is then performed in order to populate the table of results.

Rayleigh Scattering

Rayleigh scattering is an important component of the scattering of optical signals in optical fibers. Silica fibers are glasses, disordered materials with microscopic variations of density and refractive index. These give rise to energy losses due to the scattered light


Fresnell refraction

In optics, refraction is a phenomenon that often occurs when waves travel from a medium with a given refractive index to a medium with another at an oblique angle. At the boundary between the media, the wave’s phase velocity is altered, usually causing a change in direction.

SHORT explanation :


this was really a short explanation about what means Optical Time Domain reflectometer
and a little start off basic light characteristics.

to know more about :

Accuracy or Puls lenght

Measuring range

Instrument Resolution


When ot use a launch box

Insert Loss

Optical return Loss

Dead Zone

Detect connectors

Fusion splices



Mechanical Splices

Fiber end or Break



PMD and CD and AP  testing


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