Fiber optics for diagnostics and troubleshooting are used in varying capacities to test, measure, analyze, transmit, distribute, and/or simulate an optical signal with which the technician can perform procedures and processes associated with maintenance, problem-solving, and calibration of equipment and/or networks.
Generally in these applications, fiber optic products are used to create loop tests or transmit signals from point-to-point (either single-point to single-point, or single-point to multiple-points).
For loop testing, commonly referred to as loopback testing, a signal is sent from a piece of equipment through a loopback or cable and returned to the source, simulating a complete network connection. This type of test allows technicians to perform function tests and internal diagnostic processes without the equipment being physically tied to an active network. This type of setup provides technicians with the advantage of easily isolating individual components for faster, more comprehensive analysis.
With signal transmission applications, technicians generally use cables (multiple types for different applications) to connect one or more pieces of equipment in a specific order or sequence to perform function testing and analysis. While many of these test and analysis processes are specific to a piece or multiple pieces of equipment, the fiber optic products used are generally based on industry standards.
Fiber optic products work very well for troubleshooting network issues for a number of reasons:
Low cost, high-bandwidth solution
Large network simulation capabilities
Pure optical signal testing allows for more precise results as opposed to optical to electrical back to optical testing
Ability to test main backbones of the network without signal conversion to electrical
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