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how to choose a right OTDR

OTDR (optical time-domain reflectometer) is one of the most powerful test instrument for fiber cable plants.In the market,have a variety of OTDRS.How can we quickly choose a right otdr? what we should be considered?
What Is an OTDR?
OTDR is used to test the performance of newly installed fiber links and detect problems in the existing fiber links. An OTDR can measure optical fiber characteristics, including total loss, segment, length, and other characteristics caused by breaks, connections, splices and tight bends, etc. It can also present a graphical trace of reflected optical power along a fiber length, and provide a table listing optical event characteristics discovered along the fiber. An OTDR can measure overall fiber optical return loss and the reflectance of a connector. It can find problems not detected by other kinds of fiber test equipment, for example, single-ended testing (testing only needed at one end of the fiber). Besides, it’s easy to locate the problem within the fiber link can troubleshoot the problem to guarantee the network performance.
Before choosing an OTDR, you should concern the following factors.
1. know your application. Many OTDRs are designed for testing long distance optical fibers and don’t match with testing and troubleshooting premises fiber networks. So if you want to use an OTDR for premises testing, you need to an OTDR with short dead zones. Because the fiber length in premises fiber networks and data center are usually short.
2. consider the user. If the OTDR will be used by some technicians with rich experience or installers, then you need to choose a complex one. But if the users are not experienced technicians, then you are suggested to select an OTDR which is easy to be operated.
3.think about the time issue. Effectiveness is required in high speed society. Since testing thousands of fibers in the data center is really time consuming. So the OTDR should not have complicated set-up and operation especially when doing critical troubleshooting. Otherwise, technicians may spend a lot of time on studying how to make the OTDR work or to set it up correctly. That greatly influences the work efficiency. However, if the time doesn’t matter, then it’s not so important whether the OTDR is complicated or not.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an OTDR
Selecting a proper OTDR to test your network not only increases its reliability, but also improves how quickly and efficiently the work is done. Here are some recommended factors to consider.
1.Deadzone Specifications
When choosing an OTDR, one of the key concepts to understand is “dead zone”. During OTDR measurements, dead zone is a limiting factor. So it’s important to minimize the effects of dead zones wherever possible. Two types of dead zones can be divided and they are event dead zone and attenuation dead zone. Event dead zone defines the distance at which the OTDR can detect the presence of one or more events that closely follows a previous event. Attenuation dead zone defines the distance where the OTDR can measure the attenuation, or loss, of two or more closely spaced events.
2.Mechanical Design
Make sure shock, vibration, and drop testing are specified. Hold an OTDR for a few minutes and see if it’s easy to handle and carry. Can you hold it in just one hand? Does it have a rugged design?
3.User Experience
This criterion is to say whether it’s easy for use. For example, an OTDR with one or two buttons and a navigation key may appear simple to operate. But when you take a closer look, you may find other keys in sub-menus. Those keys are difficult to find and use. And that means the user experience is bad.

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