In its latest revision (September 2022), the Telecom Industry Association (TIA) added MPO test requirements and procedures to their optical fiber cabling component standard, ANSI/TIA-568.3-E. The revision adds MPO-specific requirements referencing TIA-526-28. TIA-526-28 is an adoption of IEC 61280-4-5 and deals with attenuation measurement of MPO-terminated fiber optic cabling plant using test equipment with MPO interfaces.

TIA-568.3-E defines two tiers of certification:

  • Tier-1, which refers to loss, length and polarity, is typically performed using an optical loss test set (OLTS)
  • Tier-2, which complements Tier-1, is performed with an Optical Time Domain Reflectometer (OTDR)
  • In all cases, fiber end-face inspection is recommended and ensure a “cleaner” test process

For Tier-1 certification, the reference test method (RTM) is the 1- cord reference. It is the preferred method to ensure accurate loss measurements with the lowest uncertainties. TIA-526-28 especially describes how to perform a 1-cord reference for pinned or unpinned systems. To match the connector gender of the system/cable under test, the use of gender neutral MPO connectors on the test cords is necessary.

The length is a required measurement used to calculate the length-based loss limits. It gives the pass/fail results to generate a complete certification report.

As per the Tier-1 certification, the MPO system polarity (A, B or C) should be automatically determined by the instrument. A complete mapping of the fibers can also be provided on demand, which allows the identification of crossed connections and/or flipped fibers.

An example of true Tier 1 certification results (using MPOLx)

The installation of MPO connectivity is typically linked to the installation of high-density fiber cables to support modern spine–leaf architectures. With VIAVI MPO test solutions, not only do you have the test functions to perform a true Tier-1 certification but also unique features which are as important to accelerate and simplify the complete workflow, such as on-board inspection microscope, the ability to directly import a list of cable labels, high storage capacity, etc.

This article originally appeared on VIAVI’s blog.