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Siemon Labs test results reveal RL deficiencies in low-cost fiber assemblies

The Siemon Company has released the results of a benchmark testing initiative on optical fiber assemblies.


June 13, 2012  


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The Siemon Company has released the results of a benchmark testing initiative on optical fiber assemblies.

Performed by Siemon Labs, the tests included randomly selected fiber jumpers from five global brands as well as jumpers from four low-cost generic assembly houses.

In terms of optical performance, Siemon Labs tested all assemblies for Insertion Loss (IL) and Return Loss (RL). While all passed minimum Insertion Loss (IL) requirements, three out of four generic suppliers had Return Loss (RL) failures.

“The optical performance results show how substandard assemblies continue find their way into otherwise high-performance networks,” said Robert Carlson, Siemon’s vice president of global marketing. “While you may only field-test for IL, substandard RL performance will negatively impact transmission and degrade overall channel performance –- even if the assembly passes IL field-testing.” 

According to the firm, standards-based visual inspections were also performed, and the results highlight the potential performance impact of contamination and fiber core defects.

“Users make significant investments in fiber network equipment for its ability to deliver high-bandwidth performance,” said Carlson. “And that performance is choked by cheap, substandard jumpers.

“A 24-port, 10GbE fiber switch costs about $10,000. If an OM3 LC fiber jumper costs about $20 from a generic supplier and $25 from a high-quality global brand, you’d save a total of about $120 if you used generic jumpers with that switch. Is $120 in jumper savings worth jeopardizing the performance of a $10,000 piece of equipment? If you factor in potential downtime, troubleshooting and replacement jumper costs, using anything less that the highest quality jumpers makes no sense.”