Direct-sequence optical code-division multiple-access (DS-OCDMA) encoder/decoder based on sampled fiber Bragg gratings (S-FBGs) is characterized using phase-sensitive optical low-coherence reflectometry (OLCR). The OLCR technique allows localized measurements of FBG wavelength and physical length inside one S-FBG. This paper shows how the discrepancies between specifications and measurements of the different FBGs have some impact on spectral and temporal pulse responses of the OCDMA encoder/decoder. The FBG physical lengths lower than the specified ones are shown to affect the mean optical power reflected by the OCDMA encoder/decoder. The FBG wavelengths that are detuned from each other induce some modulations of S-FBG reflectivity resulting in encoder/decoder sensitivity to laser wavelength drift of the OCDMA system. Finally, highlighted by this OLCR study, some solutions to overcome limitations in performance with the S-FBG technology are suggested.
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