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Troubleshooting Optical Fiber Networks, First Edition : Understanding and Using Optical Time-Domain Reflectometers

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Two of us (Anderson and Bell) wrote the fi rst edition of this book,
titled Optical Time-Domain Refl ectometry, published in 1997. At the time
we were engineers at Tektronix, in the company’s Cable and Network
Analysis Division. In 1997, Tektronix was a major producer of optical
time-domain refl ectometers (OTDRs), and our book was the fi rst singlesource
handbook describing OTDRs. Tektronix sponsored our work in
writing the book, and they published it and distributed it worldwide.

At the time, worldwide investment in fi ber-optic networks was
expanding at double-digit rates, and Tektronix was one of the top
manufacturers of OTDRs, responsible for both their early innovation
and the development of several key technologies. Neither of us could
have anticipated the dramatic changes that would take place in the next
six years. While fi ber optics proceeded at a steady and respectable pace
during most of the 1990s, the industry exploded in irrational exuberance
near the turn of the century as part of the telecom bubble, only to
be followed by a deep depression that would see many companies,
including Tektronix, abandon key business sectors devoted to optical
telecom by the end of 2003.

Through these tumultuous times, the OTDR continued its
remarkable evolution, resulting in today’s machines, which are
considerably smaller, faster, more capable, and less expensive than their
predecessors. This evolution has been driven largely by the widespread
use and deployment of optical fi ber and the need to put high-powered
test capability into the hands of the optical technicians that engage daily
in installing, maintaining, and repairing these networks. The days when
optical engineers do fi eld tests with bulky $35,000 OTDRs are gone
forever.
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