Optical Time Domain Reflectometer

What Does Optical Time Domain Reflectometer Mean?

An optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) is a device used to precisely detect faults in an optical fiber link of a communication network. Its function includes generation and transmission of a series of high-speed optical pluses within the fiber.

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Techopedia Explains Optical Time Domain Reflectometer

Fiber communication system maintenance depends on optical time domain reflectometers. An OTDR simply generates a pulse inside a fiber to be tested for faults or defects. Different events within the fiber create a Rayleigh back scatter. Pulses are returned to the OTDR and their strengths are then measured and calculated as a function of time and plotted as a function of fiber stretch. The strength and returned signal tell about the location and intensity of the fault present. Not only maintenance, but also optical line installation services utilize OTDRs. Additionally, nationwide telephone exchanges and poles within the network use OTDRs for smooth functioning.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.