Launch Cable

Launch Cable

Eliminate dead zones and uncertainty for a reliably accurate trace through your fiber line using an OTDR. Launch Cables are designed to be used in conjunction with an OTDR to measure complete link loss of a fiber. An OTDR launch cable, which connects the OTDR to the link-under-test, discloses the insertion loss and reflectance of the near-end connection.

Launch cables are offered in a variety of connector styles including SC, ST, LC, FC and MTRJ.



 

Lanch cables are also known as pulse suppressor cables, launch cords, launch leads, receive cables or fiber rings.

A receive cable, which is connected to the far-end of the link, exposes the insertion loss and reflectance of the far-end connection.

A fiber ring serves as both a launch cable and a receive cable.

It is recommended that the OTDR launch cable be longer than the dead zone. The shorter 150 meter lengths are ideal for premises fiber network test applications.

We also carry single mode OTDR launch cables of 500 meters and 1000 meters for broadband, long-haul fiber network test applications.

 

Why Do I Need A Launch Cable On The OTDR?

OTDRs are always used with a launch cable and may use a receive cable. The launch cable, sometimes also called a "pulse suppressor," has two major reasons for its use:

The launch cable allows the OTDR trace to settle down after the test pulse is sent into the fiber so you can analyze the beginning of the cable you are testing. The large event you see right in front of the instrument on the OTDR trace is caused by crosstalk within the instrument and reflectance from the connector on the face of the OTDR. The long recovery time from this overload pulse means the OTDR cannot make any useful measurements near the instrument itself. The launch cable has also been called a "pulse suppressor" because it allows time for the OTDR to settle down from this initial overload. If possible, singlemode OTDRs should have APC connectors on the front panel to reduce reflectance. Also a short connection cable attached to the OTDR before the launch cable that never gets removed from the OTDR prevents excess wear on the panel connector.

The launch cable  provides a reference connector for the first connector on the cable under test to determine its loss. A receive cable may be used on the far end to allow measurements of the connector on the end of the cable under test also.

 

  • Testing loss with an OTDR requires a launch cable that connects to the fiber in the cable under test, taking a trace and analyzing the trace, either manually or using some preprogrammed auto-test function. This leads to several random errors in loss measurement which may include:
  • Variation in loss of the connection of the launch cable to the cable under test caused by alignment variations each time it’s connected, dirt, temperature, etc.
  • Changes in stress of the launch cable or cable under test which can be caused by temperature variations or physical movement of the cable.
  • Changes in the mode power distribution of launched pulses  which can affect both multimode and singlemode cables (short SM may not be single-mode-it may take hundreds of meters!)
  • Noise in the OTDR trace, with the effect greater effect with less averaging.
  • How the user sets the markers on the trace for each measurement. This is affected by pulse width (risetime) and the reflectance from an event which can overload the OTDR and cause difficulties in determining where the fiber baseline is located.

Why Do I Need A Launch Cable On The OTDR?

OTDRs are always used with a launch cable and may use a receive cable. The launch cable, sometimes also called a "pulse suppressor," has two major reasons for its use:

The launch cable allows the OTDR trace to settle down after the test pulse is sent into the fiber so you can analyze the beginning of the cable you are testing. The large event you see right in front of the instrument on the OTDR trace is caused by crosstalk within the instrument and reflectance from the connector on the face of the OTDR. The long recovery time from this overload pulse means the OTDR cannot make any useful measurements near the instrument itself. The launch cable has also been called a "pulse suppressor" because it allows time for the OTDR to settle down from this initial overload. If possible, singlemode OTDRs should have APC connectors on the front panel to reduce reflectance. Also a short connection.​​​​​​​

Why do you use a launch cable on the source?

You use a launch cable to set the proper test conditions for testing another cable. The launch cable should match the fiber size and connector type of the cable you want to test, and be tested to insure it is a low loss connector.​​​​​​​

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