ANSI/TIA-568-C testing LC to SC (Duplex Singlemode) DTX-SFM2

This article will describe the steps required to successfully certify a singlemode LC to SC duplex fiber link in accordance with ANSI/TIA-568-C using the DTX-SFM2 fiber adapters. ANSI/TIA-568-C requires the user to follow Method A.1 (also known as 1 Jumper) which ensures that the connectors at each end of the link are measured and negative loss readings are avoided. 

Items required in addition to a DTX CableAnalyzer:

TIA LC to LC1 Jumper Reference - SFM2

Cleaning is critical. It is the single most reason for ending up with negative loss values. You cannot clean without some means of visually inspecting the end face. This can be anything from a simple Fiber Viewer to a Video Scope such as the FiberInspector Mini shown above. If you have no inspection device, you cannot proceed. Let's define what is acceptable and not acceptable.

Fiber End Faces    


  1. Perfect. Test Reference Cords are required to be perfect. 
  2. No scratches, but there's a deposit on the end face and whilst not on the core, it could move to the core during referencing/testing. 
  3. There is a scratch across the end face. It's not on the core, but the black "blob" indicates that the cladding has been chipped. This could cause damage to anything you insert it into, including the test equipment. 
  4. Again, the scratches indicate a damaged connector. This could cause damage to anything you insert it into, including the test equipment.

The Test Reference Cords (TRCs) are critical to a successful measurement. Your singlemode TRCs loss should not exceed 0.20 dB at each end. The singlemode TRCs shipped from Fluke Networks;
    NFK3-DPLX-SC Duplex SM 9 µm TRC for SC Adapter, Set of 2 
    NFK3-DPLX-LC Duplex SM 9 µm TRC for LC Adapter, Set of 2 
have a mated loss better than 0.20 dB at each hardened end face. And yes, you must inspect and clean these TRCs every time you use them - even new ones out of the bag.

Where did Fluke Networks get that 0.20 dB requirement?
ANSI/TIA-568-C does not specify a maximum loss requirement for TRCs. However, ISO/IEC 14763-3 does and that's where the 0.10 dB for multimode and 0.20 dB for singlemode comes from.

In this example, we're going to test a 100 m (328 ft) duplex 9/125 µm singlemode fiber link with LC connectors at one end and SC connectors at the other end to ANSI/TIA-568-C. 

Setting up the DTX CableAnalyzer

  1. With the fiber modules inserted into the DTX CableAnalyzer, power up the main and remote units.
    Sources will need at least five minutes to stabilize, longer in colder or hotter environments.
  2. Replace the SC Adapter on the remote units with the optional LC Adapter.
    Removing the SC Adapter
  3. Rotate the dial on the DTX CableAnalyzer to SETUP.
  4. Select Fiber Loss and press ENTER.
  5. Change the Test Limit to TIA-568-C Singlemode ISP.
    You will see two limits for singlemode, one is ISP (Inside Plant) and one is OSP (Outside Plant). The ISP has a fiber loss of 1.0 dB/km and the OSP has a fiber loss of 0.5 dB/km. Choose the one that is appropriate.
  6. Change the Fiber Type to the cable you are testing.
    This setting changes the Refractive Index (n) value. The DTX uses n to calculate the length of the fiber. You can manually enter the n values in Tab 3 of the Setup. If you cannot find your cable in the DTX Cable Library, look to the cable vendor's website for their datasheet. Since the TIA-568-C Singlemode ISP limit is calculated based on length, it is important to get this value right.
  7. The Number of Adapters is going to be 2.
    This is always the number of adapters per fiber strand added after the reference has been set.
  8. Set the Connector Type to LC.
    This will not affect the outcome of the result. It only affects the help screens. If you set it to mixed, the help screens will be incorrect for this setup.
  9. Set the Test Method to 1 Jumper.
     TIA LC to LC1 Jumper Reference - SFM2
  10. Clean AND inspect the TRCs.
  11. Connect the main and remote units together as shown below.
    Connecting the Main and Remote Units

    Mandrels must NOT be used. 
  12. Rotate the dial to SPECIAL FUNCTIONS.
  13. With Set Reference selected, press ENTER then TEST.
  14. You will then be presented with the results of the Reference.
    Set Reference Result
    For 9/125 µm it should be better than -8.00 dBm where -7.50 dBm is better than -8.00 dBm.
    These values reflect the cleanliness of the Ports and TRCs. The fact that your reference values are better than the minimum stated above does not mean they are good/clean. 
  15. Press F2 OK.
  16. You can enter the length of your TRCs here. It does not affect the outcome of the test, but will be displayed on the test report.
    View Connections   Patch Lengths
  17. Press F2 OK when done.
  18. Remove the LC and SC connectors from the Input Ports and put the dust caps back on them.
    Never disconnect from the Output Ports. Doing so invalidates the reference you just set. 
    Removing the LC and SC connectors from Input Ports
  19. Insert one of the SC to LC TRC's into the Input Port on the main unit.
    Inserting the SC to LC TRC into Input Port
  20. Insert the other SC to LC TRC into the Input Port on the remote unit.
    Inserting Another SC to LC TRC into Input Port
  21. Place dust caps on the remote TRCs if it is more than a short walk to the other end. According to the EPA, dust in an office can be anything from 2.5 µm to 10 µm so protecting the end faces is critical.
  22. Connect the TRCs to the link you're testing.

    Connecting the TRCs to Test Link
  23. Rotate the dial to AUTOTEST Press TEST.

The DTX CableAnalyzer will calculate the test limit (optical loss budget) for you. Changing the number of adapters/splices will of course increase the test limit. Be sure the Number of Adapters is set correctly.

How often should I Set Reference?
The quick answer is; every time you begin to test a series of fiber links. It is critical to continually inspect the TRCs.