Fiber optic transceivers are an essential part of any fiber optic system. They are responsible for converting electrical signals into optical signals and vice versa.
However, like any other piece of electronic equipment, fiber optic transceivers can sometimes experience problems. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most common problems that can occur with fiber optic transceivers and how to troubleshoot them.
1. Loss of Signal
One of the most common problems that can occur with a fiber optic transceiver is a loss of signal. This can be caused by a number of factors, including loose or damaged connections, incorrect transceiver type, or a faulty transceiver.
If you are experiencing a loss of signal, the first thing you should check are the connections. Make sure all of the connections are tight, secure and clean. If you are using a patch cable, make sure that it is properly connected to both the transceiver and the fiber optic patch panel.
Next, the types of transceivers at each end of the link. Make sure they are the correct optical transmission mode (multimode or single mode) and that the optical wavelength is correct. If you are unsure of the mode, consult the documentation for your transceivers. If the transceivers modes are correct, also refer to documentation for the maximum transmission distance supported. If that distance is insufficient to cover the link under test, more powerful transceivers must be selected.
If the problem persists, it is possible that one of the transceivers itself is faulty. In this case, you should move on to verify the performance of the each of the transceivers.
2. Optical Output Power
If the optical power output of the transceiver is too low at either end, reliable transmission may not be possible over the full length of fiber optic cable. As a result, you will experience a loss of signal at one end or the other.
There are a few ways to check the optical power output of the transceivers. The first is to use an optical power meter (OPM). Select the appropriate wavelength on the OPM and connect near the transmit output of each transceiver. If either end measures below specification, that transceiver must be replaced.
Another way to check the optical power output is to utilize the user interface (UI) of the host switch/router into which the transceivers are installed. There should be commands to retrieve the self-monitoring values from the transceivers. One of these values is a measure of the current optical output power level.
If the optical power output is too low, you will need to replace the offending transceiver with a new one. If both transceivers are transmitting with sufficient power, move on to checking receiver power levels.
3. Optical Receive Power
Minimum optical receive power is specified in the transceivers data sheet. To measure optical receive power levels, again, an OPM may be used. This time, connect the OPM (remember to set the OPM to the correct wavelength) as close as possible to the receivers. If the receive level at either end is too low, transmission will not be possible.
Like the transmit power, Optical Receive Power, may be found utilizing the user interface (UI) of the host switch/router into which the transceivers are installed. There should be commands to retrieve the self-monitoring values from the transceivers. One of these values is a measure of the current optical input power level.
If the Optical Receive Power is within specifications at both ends it is probable that one of the transceivers has a faulty receiver. In this case, you will need to replace the transceivers, one at a time, with new ones to determine the faulty part.
If the receive power at one or the other ends is too low, it is time to move on to checking the integrity of the fiber optic cable itself.
4. Fiber Optic Cable Integrity
If the Optical Transmit Power is within specifications, the fiber span length is within the reach limits of the transceivers being use, the next thing you should check is the optical link. Use an optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) to check for any optical loss along the length of the fiber optic cable.
The OTDR will show various points along the optical fiber span where loss is occurring. There should be small losses at each connection point (e.g., fiber patch panel connections). If there are any large losses on the backbone fiber span, the fiber must be repaired or another, good fiber may be used.
If excessive loss is measured at any fiber patch panel, clean the fiber end-faces and re-attach. If this does not resolve the problem, try replacing the fiber patch cable at one end, then the other.
It’s important to be aware of the potential problems that can occur with fiber optic transceivers. By troubleshooting these problems, you can ensure that your transceiver is working properly. However, it’s still recommended to seek help from a professional when dealing with these problems to make sure that they are correctly resolved.
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