Maximizing Return Loss Measurement Accuracy in Test Setups

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White Paper Overview

With the wide range of fiber optic cables available for deployment (hybrid, multifiber, etc.), the test setups needed to evaluate them have become quite complex. The complexity required to test these cables often introduces additional insertion loss, resulting in uncertainty and erroneous return loss measurements. To ensure measurement accuracy, it is advisable to find a correction factor for each channel of each reference cable to zero out this variance. An established method to do this is to use an external reflectance standard. Awareness of this phenomenon will help manufacturing engineers and technicians accommodate and correct for potential sources of error.

This white paper covers the following:

  • How Return Loss (RL) is Measured
  • Accounting for Measurement Offsets 
  • External Reflectance Standards 
  • Indirect Referencing: A Potential for Errors 
  • Applying Correction Factors
  • Other Methods for Increasing RL Measurement Accuracy 
  • Referencing APC Connectors 
  • Accounting for Other Effects of Lossy Components 

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