The fiber optic cable tester is a must-have device for any network electrician. They are pretty much handicapped without this tool.
When installing a cable network, there might be some issues with the connection. Without a cable tester, it is impossible to find out what the problem is.
A good fiber optic cable tester will help check and diagnose the connectivity. It is also useful in checking the strength of the network cable.
It doesn’t matter how skilled a network electrician is, they will need a fiber optic cable tester. It makes their work easy and helps them to identify the network cable issues.
If you are looking for a quality fiber optic cable tester, you have come to the right place. In this guide, we have reviewed five of the best fiber optic cable testers. So, without wasting any time, let’s get to the details.
Types Of Fiber Optic Cable Testers
A fiber optic cable is the backbone of our modern communication networks. It carries data at incredible speeds over long distances. With the help of the best fiber optic cable testers, you can ensure these cables function flawlessly. That said; let us now explore the different types of fiber optic cable testers that are essential for maintaining the functioning of these high-speed data cables.
#1. Visual Fault Locators
Most issues with fiber optic networks are linked to ensuring proper connections. These systems use invisible infrared light, which makes it impossible to see the transmitter light. This is because it falls outside the range of human vision.
To overcome this limitation, visible light sources like lasers, LEDs, or incandescent bulbs are used to inject light into the system. This visible light allows for the visual tracing of the fiber path from the transmitter to the receiver.
The tools that inject visible light are known as visual fault locators or fiber tracers. Continuity testing is performed to check a few fibers in a cable before installation. Tracing fibers is another essential application of these devices. It helps identify specific fibers and ensure correct connections.
#2. Spectrum Analyzers
RF spectrum analyzers are used to examine and diagnose RF signals across frequency ranges. On the display, the X-axis represents electromagnetic radio frequency, while the Y-axis represents signal strength.
An optical spectrum analyzer (OSA) is used for measuring optical signals. It’s an optical tool that assesses light properties across the electromagnetic spectrum. The OSA measures the intensity of light and analyzes polarization.
The primary purpose of an OSA is to troubleshoot issues in DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) systems.
An OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer) works like an electronic time domain reflectometer for optical fibers. It sends out a series of light pulses and collects light that bounces back along the same fiber.
The light that bounces back is used to analyze the optical fiber. It’s similar to how an electronic time-domain meter detects reflections caused by changes in the cable’s impedance that is being tested. The OTDR measures the strength of the returning light pulses over time and displays this data about the length of the fiber.
There are three main types of OTDR-like test equipment: Full-feature OTDR, Fiber Break Locator, and Hand-held OTDR and Fiber Break Locator.
#4. Connector Inspection
Contamination on the ends of fiber optics is a major reason behind network problems and downtime. Fiber inspection microscopes allow network technicians to safely examine fiber end faces. They make sure that fiber cleaning processes are working effectively.
Some fiber microscopes come with built-in protective infrared filters. This reduces the risk when viewing live fibers.
Additionally, there are video inspection tools that don’t involve a direct optical connection between the user’s eyes and fiber. Instead, they use a video signal path and turn the optical image into a high-resolution video image.
#4. Light Sources and Power Meters
Measuring the optical power at the end of a fiber is probably the most basic fiber optic measurement. It forms the basis for evaluating the power from a source and measuring signal loss.
Both receivers and transmitters have receptacles to connect fiber optic cables. By attaching a testing cable to the source, you can measure the power of a transmitter. It also helps measure the power at the other end.
For receivers, you disconnect the cable that’s connected to the receiver’s connector and use a meter to measure the output.
Optical power meters commonly use semiconductor detectors. Most fiber optic power meters have three choices available: Indium-Gallium-Arsenide, Germanium, and Silicon.
#5. Fiber Identifiers
An optical fiber identifier is a tool used to detect the light signals in an optical fiber. It is also known as an optical fiber detector or live fiber detector.
This device may seem simple, but it’s quite advanced. A technician attaches it to a fiber to get information about the direction of light signals, and the presence of modulation.
With a fiber identifier, a technician can take measurements quickly and check if the fiber system is working well. It is a valuable tool for installers as it helps them to check light signals in fibers, and determine the direction of light signals.
Other uses include identifying fibers and measuring relative signal loss. It also helps with general troubleshooting and installation.
What To Look For When Buying Fiber Optic Cable Tester?
Before setting out to buy the best fiber optic cable testers, you should consider a few important factors. To help you out, we have provided a detailed buyer’s guide below. By referring to this guide, you can make an informed decision.
When selecting a cable tester, you should prioritize compatibility over anything else. Understand that not all testers are equal.
Some testers are designed for fiber optic cables and others for Ethernet cables. It is important to choose a tester depending on the cables within your network. You need to make sure that the tester you are buying is compatible with the cables.
- Test Types
After selecting a tester that is compatible with your cable type, the next step is to check the types of tests it can perform.
Also Read: How To Test Fiber Optic Cable
To be on the safer side, make sure that the tester is capable of conducting all types of tests required for your network. Compile a list of the tests you want your tool to perform before heading to the store.
- Testing Range
A good fiber optic cable tester should offer a broad testing range to accommodate various cable lengths.
It’s important to select a tester who can accurately measure cable lengths and identify any faults within the cable. Look for a tester that provides accurate results within a reasonable margin of error.
- Ease Of Use
Buy a tester that is easy to use. Also, consider the portability of the tester, especially if you need to work in different locations.
Portable testers are compact and lightweight. This makes them convenient for fieldwork. Additionally, a tester with an intuitive interface and user-friendly operation helps save effort and time during testing.
- Display and Reporting
A clear and easy-to-read display is essential for interpreting test results quickly. Some testers come with built-in screens, while others use an external device like a smartphone or tablet.
Choose a tester with a display that suits your preferences and provides detailed reports.
- Testing Features
Different cable testers offer various testing features. Basic testers may only perform simple continuity checks, while advanced models can conduct more complex tests.
Evaluate your specific testing needs and select a cable tester that meets those requirements.
- Cable Length
This is another important thing to consider when buying a fiber optic cable. Before making a final call, make sure that the tester can accommodate the length of the cable.
The best fiber optic cable testers come with various features tailored to meet the needs of different users. Therefore, you can rest assured that you will find the tester that meets your specific requirements.
When it comes to buying a fiber optic cable tester, you must also consider the budget. These testers are available at a range of prices. This is why it is important to set a budget before going out shopping.
While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest option, remember that investing in a quality tester can save you money in the long run. Cheap testers may fail to deliver the desired results. To prevent network downtime and costly repairs, it’s better to opt for a quality tester.
Last but not least, check the warranty offered by the manufacturer. A reliable warranty ensures that you are protected against any potential defects.
Go for a product that is backed by customer support. This can prove to be invaluable if you have questions about using the tester.
Top 5 Fiber Optic Cable Tester Reviewed
We have handpicked 5 best fiber optic cable testers from Amazon. Go through the product reviews and choose a model that you think is most suitable for you.
#1. D YEDEMC Fiber Optic Cable Tester: Editor’s Choice
D YEDEMC Fiber Optic Cable Tester is our editor’s pick. It is the best hand-held fiber optic cable tester on the market. It is mainly used to measure the power of continuous optical signals, check the status of optical fiber connections, and test optical fiber link loss.
Why Is It Unique?
The unique thing about this tester is its impressive range of capabilities. This device can measure eight standard wavelengths, including 1650nm, 1625nm, 1550nm, 1310nm, 1300nm, 980nm, and 850nm. This makes it suitable for professionals working with various optical setups. Additionally, the test range spans from -70dBm to +6dBm.
Other useful features include the light source, automatic shutdown, and backlight selection. These features make the device more efficient than other models within this price range.
This device supports FC/SC/ST universal interfaces and even includes RJ45 testing capabilities. The simultaneous display of linear mW and non-linear index dBm makes the device even more efficient.
Most buyers appreciate the device’s compact design as it makes it easy to carry around. It combines the functionalities of a red pen and an optical power meter thus, eliminating the need for multiple tools.
To make things more convenient for users, the tester comes with an English manual. This makes the setup process hassle-free.
The tester is backed by lifetime-friendly customer service. In case of any issue, you can contact the customer support for assistance.
- Compact size
- Highly versatile
- Lifetime customer service
- Provides accurate results
- Performance could be better
- Sometimes provide inaccurate results
Best Fit For
This versatile fiber optic tester can be used for a variety of tasks such as optical cable installation and maintenance, optical CATV, optical fiber communication, and optical cable monitoring.
#2. Fiber Visual Fault Locator Fiber Optic Cable Tester: Best Overall
Next up, we have the Fiber Visual Fault Locator. It helps detect fiber problems accurately. It is a portable device, shaped like a torch, making it easy to carry. Plus, it is quite affordable.
Why Is It Unique?
This product can easily find issues in fiber optic cables, like breaks, weak connections, bends, or cracks. It works in two modes: continuous light or pulsed light. The VFL emits a red 650nm light for tracing and locating fibers. If it detects a problem, the light will bend.
This fiber tester has the best functions. It keeps the light power steady and alerts the user when the battery is low. It proves to be efficient in continuity checking and fiber routing. Plus, it makes problem areas glow brightly.
The good thing about this device is that it connects too many kinds of fiber optic cables. It works for both single-mode and multi-mode cables. You can use it in integrated wiring systems, optical telecommunications, CATV engineering, optical measurements, and making optical devices.
With the help of this visual fault locator, users can detect issues from a distance. This is one thing that buyers like the most about this tool. It offers a strong light source output of 30mW that travels up to 20-30 km in a fiber optic cable.
Due to its smart design, you don’t need to buy extra batteries. It’s a small, lightweight device that is easy to use.
It’s built with stainless steel and aluminum to protect it from bumps and dust. It also won’t get damaged by static electricity.
- Comes with a carrying case
- Compact and lightweight
- High-quality tester
- Replaceable ceramic sleeve
- Includes a hanging rope
- No adapters
- Sometimes light goes dim
Best Fit For
It can be used for a variety of applications such as integrated wiring systems, CATV engineering, optical measurements, and more.
#3. D YEDEMC Live Optical Fiber Identifier (YD-3309D): Best Premium
The YD-3309D is the most recent Optical Fiber Identifier, offering three functions in one. This tool is crucial for optical maintenance and non-destructive fiber identification projects. Additionally, it includes a Visual Fault Locator module and a power meter function. If you don’t mind sparing a few extra bucks, you should consider opting for this model.
Why Is It Unique?
It indicates the directions of signals and their strength in the fiber. It can also tell how much power is in the core of the fiber. This tool can find signals of different tones like 270Hz, 1 KHz, and 2 KHz, and helps identify a specific fiber quickly.
It has a built-in red-light source with a power of 10mW that can measure the distance of the fiber at around 10 to 15 km.
It also has an OPM function that tests wavelength at 850nm, 1300nm, 1310nm, 1490nm, 1550nm, and 1625nm. It can measure signals in the range from -50 to +26 dB. The connector is a universal 2.5 type.
The tool comes with a metal gripper, so users don’t need to change the adapter. It can be used with different types of optical fiber, like 250um 900um, 2mm, and 3mm.
Users find this device easy to use because of its lightweight construction. For convenience, it also has an LED color screen.
- Easy to use
- Has a universal connector type
- LED colour screen
- In-built OPM function
- Sometimes inaccurate
Best Fit For
This tool is great for fiber identification, fault detection, and signal power measurement.
#4. Goeco Fiber Optic Cable Tester Toolkit: Best Toolkit
If you are looking for the best fiber optic cable tester toolkit, this could be a good choice. It includes a visual fault locator and FC connector needed to check the performance of the network cable.
Why Is It Unique?
This device measures light at different colors like 850nm, 980nm, 1300nm, and more. It checks the power of light, with a range from -70dBm to +10dBm.
It has a display that shows information clearly. Plus, you can switch between a steady or blinking red light. It works for 40 hours and turns off automatically.
The visual fault detector has a 2.5mm connector that fits different types of fiber optic cables. It’s good for finding problems like breaks, bad connections, or bends.
This toolkit has received good ratings from buyers. The compact design and efficient functioning of the device is what makes it a popular choice among users.
Compared to other fiber optic cable testers, this one is easy to use and set up. It comes in handy during the installation and maintenance of fiber optic networks.
- Easy to use
- Accurate results
- Compact size
- No batteries included
- Some users find it difficult to use
Best Fit For
It is commonly used in network installation and maintenance. It also helps troubleshoot network cable issues.
#5. YICIZOL 4-in-1 Optic Fiber Optic Tester: Best Budget
This fiber optic cable tester is ideal for those on a tight budget. However, don’t get fooled by the low price tag. It is a highly efficient product and delivers accurate results every time.
Why Is It Unique?
This device can measure 10 standard wavelengths, including 850nm, 980nm, 1300nm, and more. It tests the power of light within a range of -70dBm to +6dBm.
Some of the notable features that are worth mentioning are wavelength memory, adjustable backlight, illumination, automatic shutdown, and user calibration.
For the power meter, it measures from -70dBm to +10dBm. The visual fault locator, on the other hand, emits a 10mW light. It has a universal 2.5mm interface and can display both linear mW and non-linear index dBm simultaneously.
One of the main reasons this model is popular among buyers is because it supports RJ45 network testing. Plus, it can measure line sequences up to 300 meters.
For convenience, the device features a 3.5-inch color LCD screen. Additionally, it can store 500 sets of data for easy access. It also has a Micro USB port for data interface.
- High accuracy
- 10 optical wavelengths
- Hidden RJ45 tester
- High-intensity red light
- Performance could be better
- Sometimes show inaccurate results
Best Fit For
This device is perfect for fiber optic network testing and quality assurance.
Conclusion on Fiber Optic Cable Tester
The best fiber optic cable testers play a vital role in ensuring the performance and quality of fiber optic networks. These devices help identify and diagnose issues within fiber optic cables. If you are looking for high-quality fiber optic cable testers, we suggest you choose a model from the products reviewed in this post. These are the best-selling fiber optic cable testers on Amazon.
FAQs on Fiber Optic Cable Tester
Q1. What is a fiber optic cable tester?
Ans: A fiber optic cable tester is a device used to check the performance and quality of fiber optic cables.
Q2. How does a fiber optic cable tester work?
Ans: A fiber optic cable tester sends light signals through the cable and measures how well the cable transmits those signals. It checks for issues that may affect the performance of the cables.
Q3. What types of problems can fiber optic cable testers detect?
Ans: With the help of fiber optic cable testers, you can detect problems like signal loss, breaks in the cable, and excessive reflections. They can also detect the location of these issues.
Q4. Why are fiber optic cable testers needed?
Ans: Fiber optic cable testers help ensure that fiber optic cables work correctly and transmit data without errors. They help identify issues and maintain network reliability.
Q5. What are the different types of fiber optic cable testers?
Ans: There exist different types of fiber optic cable testers. These include fiber identifiers, OTDR, spectrum analyzers, visual fault locators, light source testers, and power meters.
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Hi, I am James Burns a skilled and experienced network engineer with a passion for optimizing digital connectivity. With a wealth of expertise in designing and managing intricate network infrastructures, I excel in enhancing performance and security. I hold a distinguished record of delivering top-notch results in various Network courses, including the Juniper Networks Certified Associate (JNCIA) certification, demonstrating my commitment to continuous learning and professional growth. My dedication to staying at the forefront of emerging technologies makes me an invaluable asset in ensuring seamless and reliable network operations. Whether troubleshooting complex issues or implementing innovative solutions, I am dedicated to creating robust and efficient network environments for businesses and individuals alike.