With the quick advancements in fiber optic technology and with the deployments of new fiber networks, OTDR testing techniques have gradually become crucial for certain tasks. These tasks include building, verifying, maintaining, and troubleshooting different fiber optic systems. With the best OTDR tester, it will be easy to locate faults precisely.

What Is OTDR Tester?

In simple terms, an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) tester is an instrument used to design a visual picture of a fiber optic cable route. This instrument analyzes data and the corresponding data can offer information on the performance and condition of the fibers. Also, it provides information on passive optical components across the cable path like splices, splitters, connectors, and multiplexers. After the tester captures these data, it is analyzed and stored. Ultimately, it can be recalled when needed to assess the same cable.

OTDR tester is inevitable for those organizations that endorse fiber optics performance and recognize any problems within the existing fiber optic cables. Since fiber optics infrastructure is accountable for the network quality you obtain, the cables and infrastructure are duly certified prior to using them. The corresponding certification is handled by companies that put down the fiber wires through different devices. One of such devices is an OTDR tester. It is crucial to use an OTDR tester so that it can locate faults precisely and work on them. With this overview, you can now find it easy on choosing the best OTDR tester from the below section.

List of The Best OTDR Tester

Check out the thorough reviews of the best OTDR tester in 2022 below.

1. D YEDEMC Mini-Pro 1310/1550nm SM OTDR Multi-Function Tester

Best OTDR Tester In 2022: The Ultimate Review -10TechPro

Are you in search out of an efficient and cost-effective OTDR tester? If yes then you can use this best OTDR tester on this list. It is a multi-function OTDR tester designed in a compact structure. It always works efficiently and stably. Typical applications include maintenance and testing of telecommunication lines and testing of FTTX.

The main interface of this tester is intuitive. Simply turn it on and enter it into the main menu. 8 functional modules are available. Choose any module by pressing the relevant direction keys. After that, you need to press the ‘OK’ key to enter the relevant functional interface.

Available System settings help you to set up automatic shutdown, language, backlight brightness time, and other information. iLOM(Event Map) function can be tested automatically through a single key. The display depicts the position of the breakpoint and type of event point in a graphical form. Each time, the result boasts clarity so that you can understand it easily.

Key Features

  • It can test 1310/1550nm wavelength.
  • The dynamic range is 24dB/22dB.
  • Measurement distance ranges from 5 m ~ 60 km.S
  • G.652 optical fiber is compatible with this tester.
  • Built-in OPM supports 8 standard wavelengths ranging from 850 nm to 1650 nm
  • OLS (1310/1550 nm) and VFL (10 Mw) are included.
  • FC/UPC connector is supported.
  • You can determine various data accurately from the 3.5 inches large color display.
  • The micro USB data interface is supported.
  • An external storage TF card is included.
  • Link quality and information could be viewed. Once the test is over, Link information contains details like a total loss, length, and the number of events.
  • The event list shows detailed information on the above parameters,
  • Other built-in functions include the RJ45 Sequence test, RJ45 Cable Tracker, RJ45 Line length test, and flashlight.

Pros And Cons

Pros
  • No leakage of red light
  • Bright color display with an intuitive interface
  • Easy to view Link quality and information
  • Presents cost-effective solutions for various applications
  • Various system settings are available
Cons
  • Difficult to understand some features initially

2. Fiber Optic OTDR Tester SM 1310/1550nm – 26/24dB – 100km

Best OTDR Tester In 2022: The Ultimate Review -10TechPro

 The aforementioned OTDR tester can be used in the construction, maintenance, and monitoring of optical cable lines. This instrument can precisely measure quantities like length and transmission attenuation of the optical fiber. Also, it can measure fault location and attenuation of the connector. Being a multifunctional OTDR tester, it supports functions like OPM, OLS, VFL, Event Map, and RJ45 tracking functions.

The 4.3 inches large touchscreen boasts a user-friendly UI design. This touchscreen along with the computer-level file management simplifies your work. This OTDR tester can be used to detect optical fiber jumper, bare optical fiber, and other optical fibers that can leak red light.

Key Features

  • It is a single-mode mini OTDR that integrates functions like Expert OTDR, Auto OTDR, Optical Power Meter, Event Map, Visual Fault Locator, Optical Loss Test, RJ45 cable tracking, RJ45 cable length/sequence test, and power-adjustable steady laser source.
  • OPM function supports CW/270/330/1k/2 kHz frequency identification.
  • OLS supports CW/modulation mode output through adjustable output power.
  • For multitasking, OLS and VFL can operate in the background.
  • The built-in 4000 mAh Lithium battery is implemented with intelligent power-saving technology. It guarantees 20 hours of standby time and 12 hours of continuous test.
  • LED Flashlight offers a bright illumination.
  • Optical loss test and Insertion loss test are supported.

Pros And Cons

Pros
  • Event Map results are clear and easy to understand
  • Analysis Software is available in the included 8G TF card
  • Comes with a visual fault locator
  • Can detect bare optical fibers that can leak red light
  • Supports wide operation temperature
Cons
  • Output comes with the uncertainty of ± 5%

3. SKYSHL 1625nm 33dB PON OTDR Fiber Tester

Best OTDR Tester In 2022: The Ultimate Review -10TechPro

SKYSHL presents the latest OTDR tester from the S313T series. It is used to measure the fiber length as well as total optical attenuation within a circuit. The analyzed data offer enough insight into the integrity of the fiber. Also, it provides insight into any passive optical components like splices, connectors, splitters, and multiplexers that are transmitted across the cable path. Detection and measurement of closely spaced faults are possible with this instrument.

For use in a PON network, this is the best OTDR tester on this list. Plenty of external ports are available. Two different USB ports allow data transfer between a PC and external devices. Test curve (.sor file) can be saved internally and even on the SD card through the SD port. Therefore, the data simulation software would process, share and print out the report.

Key Features

  • It offers a wavelength of 1625 nm and a dynamic range of 33 dB.
  • The maximum test distance is 130 km.
  • Up to 1:64 splitter is supported.
  • Functions like OPM, OLS, and VFL combines all important fiber tests.
  • With the implementation of the sophisticated optical technology, this tester offers the shortest event dead zone (1m for SM) and attenuation dead zone (5m for SM).
  • The Auto test, Event map explores the benefit of OTDR. It elevates automation and enables inexperienced technicians to become seasoned test experts in very little time.
  • Lithium batteries can operate for 15 hours continuously. So, this OTDR tester can be used for long-time use outdoors.
  • The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen makes the whole operation more sensitive.

Pros And Cons

Pros
  • Easy one-touch operation for automatic analysis
  • Comes with a tailored OTDR user interface
  • Analog keyword supports multiple languages
  • The warning function prevents the optical signal from deteriorating the OTDR module.
  • Powerful battery life of up to 15 hours
Cons
  • Accuracy is not extremely high

4. ORIENTEK TR600 OTDR Series: SM SM&MM 1490 PON 1625 PON OTDR Tester

Best OTDR Tester In 2022: The Ultimate Review -10TechPro

This ORIENTEK OTDR tester can test the fiber loss connector loss, fiber optic length, and a few other physical characteristics of the fiber. It can precisely locate events on fiber cables. For FTTx application, installation, maintenance, producing testing, and fiber R&D, this tester is extremely useful.

Boasting a lightweight and rugged design, the TR600-MV10A is simple to operate. The built-in LCD comes with low reflection and presents bright output.  Test results can be recorded through a U disk or SD card so that data analysis and viewing can be done later. Data interfaces supported are USB and SD cards. You can view different output parameters on the 5.6 inches large TFT LCD touchscreen.

Key Features

  • It can work on a 1310/1550 nm wavelength.
  • The dynamic range supported is 32/30 dB.
  • Pulse width (ns) supported are 5, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320, 640, 1280, 2560, 5120, 10240, and 20480.
  • The sampling resolution ratio is 0.125m to 8m.
  • The loss threshold is 0.05 dB.
  • Linearity is ±0.05 dB/ dB.
  • The loss resolution ratio is 0.01 dB.
  • 32k sampling points are included.
  • Optical interfaces supported are FC/UPC+SC/UPC+LC/UPC.
  • User-selectable duration of measurement are 5 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 30 sec, 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.
  • English and Spanish languages are supported.
  • GUI interface design streamlines the operation and offers an intuitive reflection of the measurement results.
  • Built-in lithium battery offers more than 8 hours of operating life.

Pros And Cons

Pros
  • Can test plenty of physical characteristics of fiber
  • Durable construction
  • User-friendly touchscreen interface
  • User-selectable duration for measurement
  • Powerful battery performance
Cons
  • The response is a bit slow

5. Multi-Functional 5 in 1 OTDR Fiber Optic Tester for FTTX Testing

Best OTDR Tester In 2022: The Ultimate Review -10TechPro

If you are looking for multifunctional OTDR testing equipment then this product is for you. Its ability to precisely measure various parameters makes it one of the best OTDR tester. You can use it to measure the loss of optical connectors, adapters, and splicing points. Moreover, it can measure the loss of a single fiber or cable. Measuring the length of the cable and setting diverse refractive indexes for diverse fibers are simplified.

The Data Simulation Analysis Software helps to process, create and print the report. Being a 5-in-1 OTDR fiber optic tester, it supports functions like OTDR, Visual Fault Locator, Optical Power Meter, Event Map (IOLM), and Optical Light Source. The 7-inch capacitive touchscreen can meet your FTTX testing requirements. Weighing just 1.5 kg, it feels comfortable to carry around.

Key Features

  • 2 main USB ports and a sub USB port are included for regulating by PC or connecting external instrument.
  • Built-in 8 GB internal memory can store 80000+ groups curve.
  • For convenient use, the tester includes SC, FC, LC, and ST adapters.
  • Built-in 7.4V/6.6Ah lithium battery offers continuous runtime of 8-10 hours.

Pros And Cons

Pros
  • 8 GB internal memory cans store 80000+ groups curve
  • Includes stable visual laser source
  • Supports English and Spanish input
  • Touch screen & user-friendly UI design
  • The included software can easily process, generate and print report
Cons
  • Some features are tricky to understand

How To Pick The Best OTDR Tester?

Stay away from perplexity and end up with the best OTDR tester by considering the following factors.

1. Types of OTDR testers

3 major types of OTDR testers are described below:

i. Benchtop OTDR

The benchtop OTDR testers are used in laboratories and production facilities for obtaining high sensitivity and accuracy. Usually, they come with a huge display screen with more ports that facilitates MPO testing and also include a power outlet.

ii. Hand-Held OTDR

Implied from the name, hand-held OTDR testers are portable instruments that weigh less than 1kg. In most cases, they are battery-powered. Due to the simple interface, it becomes simpler for a technician to comprehend its working. Various connectivity options it support include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. These options help the tester to effectively communicate test results and certain other work-related orders. 

iii. Rack-Mounted OTDR

They are high-volume OTDR devices designed to incorporate with network monitoring devices. Moreover, they are combined and incorporated with an optical switch that allows them to automatically rotate among fibers.

2. Wavelengths

When you perform testing with the help of an OTDR, the wavelength set on the tester must match that used for transmission. The following points must be considered:

  • For single-mode fiber links, 1310 nm and/or 1550 nm and/or 1625 nm wavelengths should be used
  • For multimode fiber links, 850 nm and/or 1300 nm wavelengths should be used
  • For troubleshooting single-mode fiber links, 1650 nm or 1652 nm wavelengths must be used.
  • For troubleshooting single-mode fiber links which carry CWDM transmission, wavelength in the range of 1270 nm to 1610 nm must be used with a channel spacing of 20m.
  • For those fiber optic systems that utilize FFTX architecture, 1490 nm wavelength must be used.

3. Dynamic range

Dynamic range decides how far the OTDR tester can measure. This aspect is measured in decibels (dB). Occasionally, the display range or distance range is misleading. It might refer to the maximum distance the particular OTDR tester can display. It is essential to know the maximum distance you may have to test. The same refers to the dynamic range of the OTDR. You may computer your need by determining how many connections and FOSC’s there would be on your trace and appending on the dB/km loss from the cable.

For wavelength 1310 nm, the dynamic range is 35 dB and the typical maximum OTDR measurement range is 80 km. For wavelength 1550 nm, dynamic range is 50 dB and the typical maximum OTDR measurement range is 220 km

FAQs When Picking The Best OTDR Tester

1. How Does an OTDR Tester Work?

The OTDR tester directs a pulse of light energy (i.e. optical power), produced by a laser diode, into a single end of an optical fiber. Moreover, a photodiode quantifies the optical power or returns light energy over time. Subsequently, it converts it into an electrical quantity which is sampled, amplified, and displayed on a screen.

The overall cable length and each event’s location are computed depending on the round-trip time of the light pulse that is traveling across the fiber core. Furthermore, the insertion loss is computed from the proportional amplitude variation of the backscattered light.

2. How is OTDR used in fiber optic testing?

A fiber optic OTDR tester (also known as an optoelectronic OTDR test instrument) is used to qualify an optical fiber. This instrument infuses a sequence of optical pulses within the fiber taken under test. Subsequently, it extracts light that is reflected back from the same end of that fiber. The best OTDR tester can precisely measure fault in the fiber optic cable.   

3. What is bidirectional OTDR testing?

OTDR testing needs access to only a single end of the fiber optic cable. The attenuation and distance measurements are dependent on optical light backscattering and the Fresnel reflection principles. Therefore, the scattered and reflected light photons could be inspected at the same location where the test signal was sourced.

4. What is the need for post processing software?

If an OTDR tester has post processing software, it makes it simpler to assess and document test results.

5. What is the recommended display size in an OTDR tester?

5 inches large display screen is recommended. It supports decent trace analysis.

6. What is the role of wireless connectivity in an OTDR tester?

Bluetooth and/or WiFi technology allows easy exporting of test results to PCs or laptops or tablets.

Final Thoughts

Recognizing faults in an optic fiber cable system is inevitable to ensure flawless communication. When you use the best OTDR tester, the measurement of various data related to the cable is always accurate. After detection of a fault, the tester works on it to resolve it. The intuitive display interface makes it easy to know the measured data. Most of these instruments work as cost-effective solutions to different applications pertaining to fiber optic communication.

Enjoyed this? Then be sure to check out our other guide of the Best Fiber Optic Cable.