The six-step process of calculating link loss

July 2, 2010
Information from the Fiber Optic Association provides guidance on making the right measurements.

As network data rates go from 1 to 10 to 40 and 100 Gbits/second over fiber-optic cabling systems, standard-specified attenuation budgets shrink. One answer to these ever-shrinking loss budgets is to use preterminated fiber-optic cabling systems, as described by Legrand Ortronics' Brian Ensign in a recent webcast seminar.

For fiber-optic cabling system designers and installers, whether they are using preterminated fiber or are terminating fiber in the field, calculating the loss budget is an essential and sometimes challenging task. A resource available to help calculate loss budgets comes from The Fiber Optic Association. On its Web site, the FOA walks through the six steps of analyzing and calculating such a loss budget.

"Both the passive and active components of the circuit have to be included in the budget loss calculation," the FOA advises. "Passive loss is made up of fiber loss, connector loss and splice loss. Don't forget any couplers or splitters in the link. Active components are system gain, wavelength, transmitter power, receiver sensitivity and dynamic range." The guideline goes step-by-step through the considerations and calculations that must be made in order to analyze a loss budget as accurately as possible.

See the FOA's guide to link loss budget calculation and analysis.

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