Fiber U Self Study

Lesson # 5: Testing Optical LANs

Level: Technician

Testing OLANs

Objectives: From this self-study lesson you should learn:
  • How are the three types of OLANs tested?
  • What are the special testing requirements of OLANs?
  • What are special problems with OLAN components that need attention?
  • What differences do you see with OTDR testing for OLANs?

Testing optical LANs is different from testing other premises cabling networks which use fiber optics. FTTO and passive OLANs use singlemode fiber while centralized fiber (FTTD) is generally implemented in multimode fiber. Passive OLANs use a single fiber in both directions at different wavelengths and have splitters in the network. Splitters add substantial loss to the links and can cause confusion when tested with OTDRs. There may even be multiple splitters if they are cascaded which must be considered when creating a loss budget to compare against test results.

As with all fiber optic links, troubleshooting requires knowing the architecture of the system, expected link losses (loss budget) and optical signal levels and typical problems that may be encountered. As always, we emphasize the importance of having documentation on the system before testing and troubleshooting.

The course leads you to read online or printed materials (with an emphasis on the online using the FOA Guide), watch FOA YouTube Videos, complete some activities and take the quizzes. Each lesson plan will be self-contained. Lesson plans open in new pages so the course overview page stays open to lead you to the next lesson or you may use the link at the bottom of the page.

Read the references, watch the videos and take the quizzes (Test Your Knowledge)

Overview of Premises Cabling with History  

Testing OLANs

FOA Reference Guide, Testing FTTx Networks  (Note information on OTDR testing PONs)
FOA Reference Guide, Testing Section 


FOA YouTube Videos, Lecture 30, Optical LANs  (Repeat)

Other YouTube Lectures Relevant To This Lesson Include:
FOA Lecture 12: Fiber Optic Testing Overview 
FOA Lecture 13: Testing Fiber Visually 
FOA Lecture 14: Testing Optical Power 
FOA Lecture 15: Five Ways To Test Fiber Optic Cable Plants 
FOA Lecture 16: Insertion Loss Testing 
FOA Lecture 17: OTDR Testing 
FOA Lecture 18: OTDR Setup 
FOA Lecture 19: OTDR Measurement Uncertainty 
Watch the ones which relate to issues you need to learn more about.

Reference Textbook
FOA Reference Guide Premises Cabling (2014), Appendix B 

Extra Credit Reading
Assignments beyond the basics required for the course will be listed as extra credit.

Overview of fiber optic testing, OSP and premises. 

Test Your Knowledge
Online Quiz

Next Lesson:
Lesson Plan No. 6, Designing OLAN Networks (Case Study)

Lesson Plans

FOA Fiber U Self-Study - OLANs - Home Page 
Lesson Plan No. 1: What is an OLAN?  
Lesson Plan No. 2, Centralized Fiber Networks  
Lesson Plan No. 3, Passive Optical LANs   
Lesson Plan No. 4, Installing OLAN Networks  
Lesson Plan No. 5, Testing OLAN Networks  
Lesson Plan No. 6, OLAN Design, Case Study  

Fiber U Certificate of Completion
When you finish, you can take an online exam on this course to qualify for a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion."


Table of Contents: The FOA Reference Guide To Fiber Optics

(C)2014, The Fiber Optic Association, Inc.