Time-domain reflectometry (TDR)

Time-domain reflectometry or TDR is a measurement technique used to determine the characteristics of electrical lines by observing reflected waveforms. Time-domain transmissometry (TDT) is an analogous technique that measures the transmitted (rather than reflected) impulse. Together, they provide a powerful means of analysing electrical or optical transmission media such as coaxial cables and optical fibers.
Variations of TDR exist. For example, spread-spectrum time-domain reflectometry (SSTDR) is used to detect intermittent faults in complex and high-noise systems such as aircraft wiring. Coherent optical time domain reflectometry (COTDR) is another variant, used in optical systems, in which the returned signal is mixed with a local oscillator and then filtered to reduce noise.
The amplitude of the reflected signal can be determined from the impedance of the discontinuity. The distance to the reflecting impedance can also be determined from the time that a pulse takes to return. The limitation of this method is the minimum system rise time. The total rise time consists of the combined rise time of the driving pulse and that of the oscilloscope that monitors the reflections.