Standards Update, February 2021

March 10, 2021 / Seymour Goldstein / General

I bet you are all wondering what installed fiber optic testing standards are in process for this year. Here is a short list by committees for those of you that want to keep up to date.

TIA TR42.11

  • TIA-526-14 revision D: Installed cable plant - multimode attenuation measurement. It has been proposed that TR42.11 “adopt” the latest edition 3 of IEC 61280-4-1, the multimode attenuation measurement of installed cabling standard. TR42.11 adopted edition 2 if the IEC document back in 2015, and the IEC is expected to put edition 3 out for ballot this summer. The adoption will be made by adding a Foreword to the IEC document. The Foreword is essentially a two-page cover sheet explaining the changes made in IEC 61280-4-1 edition 2 to edition 3. These changes are:
    1. Inclusion of an additional equipment cord method for setting the reference when making channel measurements
    2. The use of bend insensitive multimode fiber in test cords
    3. Light source spectral requirements refinements
    4. Measurement uncertainty additions
    5. Multimode launch conditions clarification
    6. The use of reference grade test cords
    The draft Foreword references Amendment 1 of IEC 61280-4-1. Since the Amendment has not been published, the Foreword might need to be an adoption with exceptions (formally an adaption). This document will be balloted in June.
  • TIA-526-7 revision B: Installed Cable Plant - Single-mode attenuation and optical return loss measurement. This standard is another adoption of an IEC standard, IEC 61280-4-2 (see SC86C/WG1 heading). Work hasn’t started on the IEC revision and project completion could take up to two years. The group decided to wait for the next revision of IEC 61280-4-2 and keep TIA-526-7 on a 5-year maintenance cycle.
  • TIA-526-28: attenuation measurement of MPO terminated fiber optic cabling plant using test equipment with MPO interfaces. This is proposed new work, an adoption of IEC 61280-4-5, a recently published IEC standard. TIA has no multifiber test standard within its TIA-526-x document series and a new project was initiated in late 2020. Adoption or adaption has not been determined. The motion for a first ballot passed.

ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC25 Interconnection of Information Technology Equipment SC25/WG3

  • ISO/IEC 14763-3: Implementation and operation of customer premises cabling - Testing of optical fibre cabling. A new committee draft (CD) is in process. Changes from the previous edition will include:
    1. Removal of plastic fibre testing
    2. Addition of testing of MPO cabling
    3. Addition of end-to-end link light source/power meter (LSPM) testing
    4. Addition of modular plug terminated link (MPTL) LSPM testing
    5. Addition of measurement uncertainty for all measurement methods
    6. Introduction of normative inspection for cleanliness to align with ISO/IEC 11801
    7. Testing will support single-mode ranges up to 10 km
    8. Introduction of new test limits for connector attenuation against reference connector
    9. Introduction of reference connectors and test cords


  • IEC 61280-4-1: Installed Cable Plant – Multimode attenuation measurement, Amendment 1. The amendment is in committee draft, was previously vetted, and waiting for a final vote. The Amendment makes the following changes:
    1. Except for the OTDR method, the test reference cords shall be 2 meters to 10 meters in length and bend insensitive multimode fiber is permitted to be used.
  • IEC 61280-4-2, Installed Cable Plant – Single-mode attenuation and optical return loss measurement. This standard was published in 2014 and needs a review and update to reflect current industry practices and trends.
  • IEC 61280-4-3 Installed passive optical networks – Attenuation and optical return loss measurements. This standard is new and in committee draft. It addresses an existing gap for PON testing.


  • IEC 61300-3-35: Visual inspection of fibre optic connectors and fibre-stub transceivers. This standard was first published in 2009 and has undergone a succession of changes. Experts continue to refine the document. The new edition includes the following significant changes unless further changes are made during working group review:
    1. Adding a statement that visual inspection is not a substitute for optical qualification such as attenuation and return loss measurements
    2. Adding requirements for single-mode 35 dB return loss connectors
    3. Addition of a sentence concerning the susceptibility of the methods to system variability and variability within systems from the same supplier
    4. Adding a statement that specified inspection requirements are an agreed quality level of the industry for newly shipped connectors
    5. Removal of inspection requirements for zones C and D (epoxy ring and ferrule surface)
    6. Insertion of a generic cleanliness specification for the whole rectangular ferrule and 250 μm area around every fiber
    7. Adding a cleaning recommendation for rectangular and cylindrical ferrules