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Laboratory and Production Line Testing of optical Fibers and Cables

Yokogawa AQ728009 September 2022 - Yokogawa Test & Measurement launched the AQ7286A, AQ7286H, and AQ7286J optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) units and the AQ3550 optical switch box for the AQ7280 OTDR series of high-performance fiber optic testing instruments. These new products are designed to be paired with an OTDR mainframe to create an AQ7280 modular OTDR, a high-performance testing instrument that is ideal for use in the optical fiber and cable evaluation process. The new AQ3550 optical switch box enables efficient switching between connections when evaluating fiber-optic cables on the production line.

Driven by factors such as the widening use of smartphones, expansion of cloud services, and streaming of video, fiber optic communication networks and data centers are being built to handle ever greater volumes of transmitted data, necessitating the development of fiber optic cables that allow for ever greater speed and bandwidth. Progress is being made in the development of homogenous fiber-optic cables for the transmission of fine optical signals over large distances with minimal loss, and in the development of complex high density fiber-optic cables with several thousand optical fibers inside a single cable.

Yokogawa Test & Measurement’s OTDRs are used to build and maintain fiber-optic communication networks, and their reliability and user-friendliness are held in very high regard by our customers. Leveraging our technologies, we have developed three new OTDR units for the laboratory and production line testing of optical fibers and cables that have been developed based on the latest standards for next-generation communications, and have also developed an optical switch box that streamlines the evaluation of multi-fiber cables.

The three new OTDR units all comply with the wavelength tolerance defined in the IEC 60793-1-40 international standard for the measurement of optical fiber attenuation. The wavelength tolerance can be held to within ±15nm (standard) or ±10nm (option) of the wavelength, meaning they can be used in the research and development of optical fibers, which are subject to rigorous inspection requirements.

As OTDRs have been limited to the evaluation of single optical fibers, manufacturing inspections and communication evaluation tests of multi-fiber cables have conventionally required installed optical fibers to be replaced one at a time. The AQ3550 has an MPO connector that can connect up to 12 optical fibers to an output port, allowing them to be evaluated one after the other by an OTDR. Users can freely switch between the connected fibers using the touch screen on the AQ7280 mainframe. This saves time by reducing the frequency with which such connection work must be performed, and speeds up the evaluation of thousands of optical fibers.

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