6 January 2004 Milton, MA Lightwave--Advanced Fiber Solutions is shipping the first units of a new low cost fiber-optic bandwidth tester that can verify the performance of multimode fibers for gigabit networks. The model OBW-2 has the capability of
testing legacy fibers and laser-rated fibers to determine their suitability for high speed networks such as Gigabit Ethernet, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and fibre channel.
Problems with the bandwidth of multimode fiber have been known since the earliest days of fiber optics, when it was still used for long distance telecommunications before the advent of singlemode fiber. These problems resurfaced with the development of gigabit networks in the last few years.
Until the development of this product, testing bandwidth of multimode fiber required lab instruments costing as much as a half-million dollars. The OBW-2 is an optical instrument with digital signal processing that uses a PC to control the instrument and calculate the bandwidth of the fiber, simplifying its operation and reducing its cost to only about $12,000.
The model OBW-2 allows testing 50/125 and 62.5/125 fibers at frequencies up to 2.5 GHz and lengths up to 10 km at both 850 nm and 1300 nm, making it appropriate for all current multimode fibers. It can be used to test fibers at manufacture, during cabling, and to determine the effects of termination and splicing on bandwidth.
Research done during the product's development showed surprising results from various termination types, concatenation of cables and patchcords and various launch conditions. Application notes on these results will be published shortly.