In a single-mode fiber excited by light with a fixed polarization state, the output polarizations obtained at two different optical frequencies are related by a Mueller matrix. We examine least-squares procedures for estimating this matrix from repeated measurements of the output Stokes vector for a random set of input polarization states. We then apply these methods to the determination of polarization mode dispersion and polarization-dependent loss in an optical fiber. We find that a relatively simple formalism leads to results that are comparable with those of far more involved techniques.
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