A launch box is a passive optical component, complementary to OTDRs (Optical Time Domain Reflectometer) for the testing of a fiber optics link. It is made of a coiled optical fiber and it helps eliminate the infamous OTDR “dead zone area”. Simply put, it is vital to the success of a fiber OTDR measurement.
These boxes are the cables placed between the OTDR and the near-end patch panel serving two key purposes:
1) to detect reflections and
2) to identify loss measurement.
The ‘blinding’ of OTDRs for short periods of time come from reflections caused by connector interfaces. A “dead-zone” is the period of time it takes for an OTDR to recover from the ‘blindness’. During a dead-zone period, OTDRs are unable to identify between bends, other connectors, breaks, or shatters. A long cable is necessary to detect the reflection within the dead-zone.
There must be sufficient measurable backscatter, before and after the inter-connection, to measure the optical loss on an OTDR trace.
An OTDR can be prevented from measuring the relative loss through both near-end and far-end patch panel connections with the lack of a dead-zone box. In its absence, there is no measurable backscatter outside the fiber link under test.
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