All OTDRs regardless of brand have four basic setup requirement i.e. the OTDR user is required to key in these four basic data parameters into OTDR in order to get good and accurate fiber trace analysis.
The required data parameters are :-
Index of Refraction
The relationship between distance and velocity or speed is as shown below -
You can review previous article on Index of Refraction HERE or HERE
As previously mentioned index of refraction measures the speed of light in optical medium. It is a function of velocity of light in vacuum and velocity of light in the opticel fiber medium or simply stated as below -
Velocity of light in fiber optics can be further expressed in terms of velocity of light in vacuum and index of refraction. This is done by rearranging the index of refraction equation as stated above.
Knowing that C or velocity of light in vacuum is a constant value
Then the distance of fiber optics as measured by OTDR can be simplied as shown below
The index of refraction, n, is a known value which can be obtained from the fiber optics manufacturer. While t , OTDR pulse width and its backscatter light travelling time , can be measured by OTDR automatically ie. the initial time laser pulse width launched into fiber optics and time taken by backscattered light returned back into OTDR.
Therefore, the measured of fiber optics distance is a function of index of refraction.
As value of IOR increases the measured fiber optic distance or length is getting shorter.
As value of IOR decreases the measured fiber optic distance or length is getting longer.
If the OTDR index of refraction does not match to that of fiber optics under testing IOR then the OTDR distance traces might show the incorrect results.
If the fiber optics under testing IOR is not known, then the end-user can use the OTDR default IOR setting.
Typical fiber optics IOR value is between 1.4000 to 1.6000
I have been in the field of fiber optics since early 1990s. I gained fiber optics skills and knowledge via my working experience as end-user, main contractor and sub-contractor and finally as an optical fiber enterpreneur.