Artisan Laboratories Corporation, a leading supplier of RF over fiber test, measurement and transmission equipment, has introduced the Sidelighter™. The Sidelighter™ is an optical measurement device that can perform distance to fault (DTF) measurements over both coax and fiber by interfacing with popular RF test equipment. The Sidelighter™ locates and identifies faults and failures in fiber optic cables and connectors with a remarkably precise event resolution as small as 5 cm and no dead-zone.
As the use of fiber grows in short haul systems, such as fiber to the premise and military platforms, there is a need for a device to locate failures in fiber optic cables with accuracies to a few centimeters at distances of less than a few hundred meters. Additionally, the elimination of the dead-zone is paramount for close-together measurements in aerospace applications. The ability to perform distance to fault (DTF) measurement over both coax and fiber will also be needed as fiber-to-the- Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) and fiber-to-the-home are deployed.
Field use requires that the measurement system be portable, battery operated and low cost. The Sidelighter™ meets these requirements and is easily used by simply connecting to an existing RF cable analyzer to make optical measurements instantly.
The Sidelighter™ connects directly to Anritsu’s Site Master™, VNA Master™, and Scorpion™ Vector Network Analyzers; Bird®’s Site Analyzer® family of Cable and Antenna Tester and Agilent’s Handheld Cable and Antenna Tester allowing any experience level user to perform both RF and optical distance-to-fault measurements in the field. The Sidelighter™ can be used in installations for troubleshooting and maintaining optical systems without the need to buy expensive OTDRs.
Operation of the Sidelighter™ module is simple. To set up for a fiber measurement, simply calibrate your RF analyzer as recommended by the manufacturer. Set the propagation velocity factor to 0.68 to match the propagation of the optical signal in the fiber. Set the loss to 0 dB/ft; set the start frequency to 1 GHz and the stop frequency to 2 GHz for maximum resolution for the standard Sidelighter™. Perform the DTF measurement as you normally would for an RF cable. The results are displayed in the same format as an RF measurement.
Locate Connectors with the Sidelighter™
The Sidelighter™ can identify the location of optical connectors and mating points. In this graph the location of connectors are shown at 500 feet, 750 feet, 1000 feet and 1100 feet
The Sidelighter™ has a < 5 cm spatial resolution; an optical dynamic range of > 40 dB and dead-zone free operation. The capabilities of the Sidelighter™allow for precision location of connectors and breaks in fibers with superior performance of up 10 times higher resolution than OTDRs.
Make High Resolution Measurements
The benefits of using the Sidelighter™ to resolve events that are spaced close together are demonstrated in the above graphs. Three reflections were measured using single mode fiber optic cables with the following connector arrangements: APC/UPC, UPC/UPC and UPC/Open. The OTDR cannot resolve these events (a fiber had to be added to the OTDR just to see the event) where as the Sidelighter™ clearly shows these events located at 3.15 m, 3.33 m and 3.46 m.
An individual who already owns an RF analyzer can save time (no additional training is required for experienced users of RF analyzers), money and get superior performance over an OTDR with the use of the Sidelighter™ (see table below for a performance comparison). For industry markets such as FTTx and Military applications that are seeing increasing trends towards the use of short-haul fiber networks, the SidelighterTM offers a high-performance, cost-effective and time-saving test solution.
||1 to 10 meters
||< 5 cm