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Give me a break

Technology brings higher functionality to optical time domain reflectometers. By Graham Pitcher.

With an increasing amount of data traffic being carried over fibre optic networks, the need to analyse and characterise those networks becomes more important. While that might seem a relatively trivial task, the long distance nature of fibre optics complicates it somewhat. Knowing whether a cable has broken is one thing; knowing just where that break might be over what could be more than 100km of fibre is another. Engineers turn to optical time domain reflectometers (otdr) for help.

The odtr is, of course, not a new addition to the engineer's tool box; some of the first examples of the device appeared two decades ago. But technology has moved on since those first examples, bringing more capable and more portable instruments.

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Graham Pitcher

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