What do you really need in an optical power meter?

17th August, 2023

Einstein once said, ‘Everything should be made as simple as possible,’ but in the high-tech, high-stakes world of fiber networks there’s considerable risk of overcomplicating everyday kit.

Optical power meters, which measure the intensity of light in optic systems, are a case in point. They’re a stalwart technician’s aid but in a market crowded with feature-packed devices, are you in danger of over-specifying – but underusing – an expensive piece of equipment?

Any engineer will think carefully about what they require to get the job done quickly and easily. No bulky user manuals to study, no unnecessary built-in gadgetry – think about what you need, not what manufacturers want to sell you. There are options for every job and budget if you carefully consider the alternatives.


In choosing an optical power meter, there are often benefits in keeping it simple:

Quick and easy to use
With busy sites, demanding timescales and multiple users, tech that’s too clever for its own good can be frustrating. Wasted time hitting the reset button, referring to manuals, or asking others for advice can be mitigated by keeping kit firmly fit for purpose.

No unnecessary frills
Similarly, assess what you need in terms of saving, reporting, and pairing ability. If actually you just need a quick indication of optical strength, an audible alert may well be sufficient. Adding memory and software to a meter also adds cost and bulk. It’s not worth the additional outlay if you’re not going to use those features.

Small but mighty
An onsite engineer wants gear that’s compact, easy to carry and slots in their tool bag. Convenience shouldn’t be underestimated when assessing the size and weight of power meters. But sleek doesn’t have to mean flimsy. Meters must also be able to weather the storm of onsite life, and potential drops. Robust and hardwearing are important watchwords.

Budget friendly
Less complex power meters offer excellent value, at a fraction of the cost of more involved varieties or combined OTDRs.

It can be easy to fall for style over substance, but for common troubleshooting issues on optical networks, less can be more!

Miller offers an array of handheld optical power meters – for a simple, and effective entry level option, please take a look at the RP 450.

Products mentioned in the article

RP 450

Handheld Optical Power Meter

Related Posts