Optical Shuffle Polarity Testing

Optical Shuffle Testing with OP415 Polarity Analyzer

How do you Find Flaws in Optical Systems with Multiple Signal Pathways?

As the demand for more information in smaller form factors increases, optical shuffles emerge as a method for maximizing the efficiency of an optical network. Their ability to route signals in many different directions increases the complexity of testing these systems. All possible signal routes must be evaluated for proper signal transmission and quality. Any misrouted fibers in patchcords can cause downtime in networks and identifying those errors early in the production process can reduce the cost of labor required to re-terminate those cables.

Verify Polarity and Signal Quality with the OP415 Polarity Analyzer

OptoTest’s Polarity Analyzer, the OP415, has 24 individual sources and detectors that can all be controlled independently. This means that no matter what the mapping on the cable is, the OP415 will be able to characterize it. The unit was designed with the modern fiber production line in mind; it analyzes both single mode and multimode cables with the same accuracy and speed. Additionally, OP415s can be controlled by USB, via DLLs provided by OptoTest or in our OPL-Max multifiber testing platform. Controlling the OP415 using software allows the operator to integrate polarity testing into the same test procedure as their existing ILRL tests and have the results save in the same location and print on the same test report.


Individual Detector Count 24
Laser Sources, Red Visible Light 24
Optical Interface Source: SM MTP APC male Receive: MM MTP APC male
Internal Fiber Source: 9/125μm Receive: 62.5/125μm
Laser Wavelength 650nm
Output Power (Typical) 1.0 mW
Power Supply +9VDC 5A
Data Interface USB 2.0
Dimensions 8.5” x 3.5” x 10”
Test Time (24f) < 1.5s

A Scalable and Flexible Test Solution

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Each unit has 24 channels of sources and detectors and up to 16 units may be connected at once, allowing for up to 384 channels of simultaneous polarity testing. The ability to control multiple OP415s through software makes it adaptable to fluctuating fiber counts and allows the platform to adapt as your needs change. With multiple OP415s, polarity verification of complicated mappings across numerous MTP connectors, such as with shuffles and distribution cassettes, becomes a quick and simple process with a traceable test result. When the shuffle system has more fibers than there are sources to light them, pause steps in the software will allow the operator to make the necessary connections to step through all combinations. 

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Click image to enlarge

TIA torn on OM5 connector color

The standardization of wide band multimode fiber leads to allocating a color designation similar to the OM2 orange or OM3/OM4 aqua.  The widely accepted color within the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has been lime green for the OM5 cable jacketing.  However, it has been proposed that the connector for OM5 cabling should also be lime green.  On the surface this sounds fitting.

Some concern has been raised among the TIA, pointing out that the lime green designation is too close to standard single mode APC green connectors and could potentially be confused with each other.  Next to one another, an OM5 lime green connector and an APC green connector could most likely be distinguished.  The issue arises when the distinction needs to be made without having the opposing type as a reference.  Basically, in the absence of an APC green connector, it would be difficult to tell if an OM5 lime green connector is lime or green.

Below, you can see the lime green jacket next to the standard APC connectors.

One can tell that the lime green jacket is somewhat lighter than the green APC connectors/adapters.  If the lime green cable was removed from the picture it is fathomable that a few of the objects on the right could be mistaken for lime green components.

In the most recent TIA meeting in Orlando, a concern was voiced that OM5 components and single mode APC components could be mistaken for each other given that assemblers, installers, etc. work in varying lighting conditions making some components appear lighter or darker.

In the Orlando meeting, a presentation was given showing various different single mode APC components and various different OM5 components.  The task was for the group to be able to distinguish the two sets from each other.  Below are the images of the various components.  Scroll through and see if you can pick out the green components and the lime components.



It has been proposed that the connector housings have a suggested color of white.  However, in preparation for production and deployment, companies have already started to build and in some cases install OM5 cabling with the lime green cabling and connectors.  For these companies, changing the proposed color from lime to another color would mean that they have installed cabling that does not follow the suggested color scheme within the standard.

Testing Polarity & Continuity

During the production and installation of MTP and MPO cables, it’s necessary to verify continuity and polarity on these cables. The OP-Polarity Kit makes it a simple task.

The OptoTest Polarity Kit consists of an OP280, which acts as a source module, and an OP480, which acts as a detector module, and a set of SAVer cables depending on the type of DUT you will be testing. The OP280 has 12 distinct sources, 1 for each channel. The OP480 has multiple channel modes and comes with 4 preset mappings.

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