Fiber U Free Self Study Programs

Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing MiniCourse

reference cables for fiber optic testing

MiniCourse: Reference Test Cables For Fiber Optic Testing
Level: Intermediate

Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing MiniCourse

Fiber U MiniCourses are courses on a specific topic that you can take in about an hour or less. They are based on questions people ask FOA all the time, so the topics are recommended by our readers.

This Fiber U MiniCourse covers the reference cables used in fiber optic testing, both insertion loss testing with a light source and power meter and OTDR testing.

Level: Intermediate

Intended For:

Technicians testing fiber optic communications networks
Users of fiber optic communications networks
Contractors and techs who install, test, operate and maintain  fiber optic networks.

Objectives: From this self-study program you should learn:
The reasons reference cables are needed for fiber optic testing
3 reference cable configurations for insertion loss testing and why they are needed
2 configurations of OTDR reference cables and the reasons to use each


You will need a basic understanding of fiber optics and particularly fiber optic testing, e.g. training and a FOA CFOT certification or at least a familiarity with fiber optic technology.
If you need a review of fiber optic testing, we suggest you begin with the Testing Lesson in the Fiber U Basic Fiber Optics self-study course or the more complete Fiber U Testing Course.

Fiber U Certificate of Completion
When you finish, you can take an online test on this course to qualify for a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion." The test cost for a Fiber U MiniCourse is $10US.

In order to test cables with a power meter and source or with an OTDR, one needs to establish test conditions. The test conditions are similar to how the actual cable plant will be used when communications equipment is connected (see below.)  For insertion loss testing, this requires reference launch jumper cables to connect the test source to the fiber in the cable under test and receive cables to connect the fiber optic power meter. For OTDR testing, this requires a reference launch cable to connect the OTDR to the fiber in the cable under test and a receive cable at the far end of the fiber.

These reference cables must be chosen carefully and maintained properly for testing to be accurate. This Fiber U Minicourse will cover the topic of reference cables and how they affect loss measurements of the fiber optic cable plant.


For this lesson plan you will be instructed to watch the videos, read the references and take a quiz (Test Your Knowledge) to complete the course.

Lesson Plan
Watch the videos, read the section in the FOA Guide and take the quiz. For this course, we recommend watching the videos first and then reading the FOA Guide page on Restoration. There is a short quiz you can use to check your comprehension. The Certificate of Completion test is based on those materials.

FOA Lesson 71 Reference Cables For Fiber Optic Testing (YouTube)

FOA Guide
Reference Test Jumper Cables And Mating Adapters 

Review: Testing The Fiber Optic Cable Plant - 5 Standard Ways  

Test Your Comprehension

Fiber Optic Reference Cables Quiz

Fiber U Certificate of  Completion
When you finish all the assignments you can take an online test on this course to qualify for a "Fiber U Certificate of Completion." The test cost is $10US.

Go here to take the Fiber U "Reference Cables MiniCourse" Certificate of Completion test. Here are detail directions if this is your first time taking a
Fiber U Certificate of Completion exam.

This information is provided by The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. as a benefit to those interested in teaching, designing, manufacturing, selling, installing or using fiber optic communications systems or networks. It is intended to be used as an overview and/or basic guidelines and in no way should be considered to be complete or comprehensive. These guidelines are strictly the opinion of the FOA and the reader is expected to use them as a basis for learning, as a reference and for creating their own documentation, project specifications, etc. Those working with fiber optics in the classroom, laboratory or field should follow all safety rules carefully. The FOA assumes no liability for the use of any of this material.


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