Fiber-optic testing standards: Return of the mandrel

Recent item in the FOA newsletter explains why the mandrel is part of the discussion again, and describes a new calibration routine.

In the February 2013 edition of the Fiber Optic Association (FOA) newsletter, the association provides insight into some recent goings-on within the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) committee developing fiber-optic testingspecifications. Under a headline reading “Sometimes Standards Can Make Sense (The ‘mandrel’ is back!),” the FOA discusses a proposal made during the February meeting of the TIA’s TR-42 Committee.

“A proposal was created to make EF [encircled flux] only applicable to 850nm testing of 50/125 fiber at <3 dB, a common-sense approach since new multimode fiber of this type is the only fiber intended for the speeds (10 Gb/s) for which EF was intended,” the newsletter says. “Other fibers (62.5/125) and wavelengths (1300nm) will then be covered by a new version of the mandrel wrap mode conditioner that has been around for twenty years or more.”

The recent proposal includes a new calibration routine for the mandrel wrap, involving a light-emitting diode (LED) source.

“All this is very sensible,” the FOA newsletter says, before turning its attention to the fact that, “Another multimode testing issue remains unsolved—testing of and with bend-insensitive fibers.” Such fibers are not recommended for use as reference cables, “as there may be coupling issues with regular multimode fibers and even other designs of bend-insensitive fibers,” the FOA explains.

You can read this and other items from the February 2013 FOA Newsletter here. The FOA archives all its newsletters (back to May 2002), so you will be able to access the February 2013 newsletter regardless of when you visit their site.

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