TDR (Time-Domain Reflectometer)

A time-domain reflectometer (TDR) is an electronic instrument that uses time-domain reflectometry to characterize and locate faults in metallic cables (for example, twisted pair wire or coaxial cable).

It can also be used to locate discontinuities in a connector, printed circuit board, or any other electrical path. The equivalent device for optical fiber is an optical time-domain reflectometer.

A TDR measures reflections along a conductor. In order to measure those reflections, the TDR will transmit an incident signal onto the conductor and listen for its reflections. If the conductor is of a uniform impedance and is properly terminated, then there will be no reflections and the remaining incident signal will be absorbed at the far-end by the termination.

Instead, if there are impedance variations, then some of the incident signal will be reflected back to the source. A TDR is similar in principle to radar.

Related Articles