With the move to higher and higher bandwidth, there is an industry emphasis on the insertion loss and reflectance performance of optical fiber terminations. While there are still optical fiber termination methods that rely on field polish of the optical fiber at the point of installation, the dominant technology today is the polish of optical fiber connectors in the controlled manufacturing environment. Even connectors that are field installable often have their fiber endface prepared in the controlled and repeatable environment of the factory
To assure reliability and performance, and avoid potential problems such as insertion loss (weakened signal), back reflection (signal is diverted back to its source), or a total system shutdown, it’s essential that all connections are perfectly clean. This is especially important with a 5G network because every milliwatt of power is necessary for optimum connectivity and peak performance.
The amount of energy that a signal loses as it travels along a cable link used to be referred to as attenuation.The longer the cable, the greater the attenuation. For network cabling, standards now more correctly use the term “insertion loss” which refers to the loss of the signal strength at the far end of a link and includes the attenuation caused by the cable and any connection points along the way (i.e., connectors and splices), as well as any signal lost to reflections of the signal. Despite this correction in terminology, the limits, test procedures and requirements have not changed.
Insertion loss is the ratio of received to inserted signal power at the end of a cable and is dominated by the cable’s attenuation. Measuring Insertion Loss per TIA-568B helps you determine whether a cable’s transmitting capacity has been compromised by poor installation practices such as an inadequate polished or dirty connector or a cable that was installed to go around a corner that didn’t meet the minimum bend radius.