Tag Archives: WDM

5 Concepts Help Easily Get WDM System


The Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) system is a passive, optical solution for increasing the flexibility and capacity of existing fiber lines in high-speed networks. By adding more channels onto available fibers, the WDM System enables greater versatility for data communications in ring, point-to-point, and multi-point topologies for both enterprise and metro applications. Do you know about WDM system? 5 concepts provided in this blog may help you easily get it.

Optical Transmission
Optical transmission is the conversion of a digital stream of information to light pulses. The light pulses are generated by a laser source (LED or vessel) and transmitted over an optical fiber. The receiver converts the light pulses back to digital information.

Optical Transmission

Wavelength Division Multiplexing
WDM is based on the fact that optical fibers can carry more than one wavelength at the same time. The lasers are transmitting the light pulses at different wavelengths that are combined via filters to one single output fiber. The device used to combine wavelengths is called multiplexer and the device used to separate wavelengths is called demultiplexer, which are the two most basic component in WDM system.

Wavelength Division Multiplexing

Optical Amplifiers
An optical amplifier is a device that amplifies an optical signal directly, without the need to first convert it to an electrical signal. Optical amplifiers boosts the attenuated wavelengths and are more cost efficient than electrical repeaters. Without amplifiers the reach is limited to 80-100km before electrical regeneration. Amplifier stations typically each 80-100km.

Depending on signal types and fiber characteristics, amplifiers are used in DWDM networks and increases the reach of the optical signals up to 3000 km. Amplifiers are an basic building block for a powerful DWDM network.

Optical Amplifiers

Transponders provides wavelength conversion from client to WDM signal. A transponder maps a single client to a single WDM wavelength. The digital framing of a line signal from a transponder provides service monitoring, management connectivity and increased reach. The broad range of available transponders enables cost efficient solutions for both CWDM & DWDM.


Optical Add Drop Multiplexer
The main function of an optical multiplexer is to couple two or more wavelengths into the same fiber. If a demultiplexer is placed and properly aligned back-to-back with a multiplexer, it is clear that in the area between them, two individual wavelengths exist. This presents an opportunity for an enhanced function, one in which individual wavelengths could be removed and also inserted. Such a function would be called an Optical Add Drop Multiplexer (OADM). OADM is used for increased flexibility in the optical paths. Services can be redirected upon failure or capacity constraints and capacity can be increased dynamically per node.


Multiplexer and demultiplexer are the most basic component in WDM system. If your transmission distance is more than 100 km, an optical amplifier is necessary. If your client wavelength isn’t available for WDM applications, you may need a transponder to convert it to WDM available wavelength. Want to achieve a more flexible, just choose to use a OADM. Besides these, sometimes, a dispersion compensation module is also needed to fix the form of optical signals that are deformed by chromatic dispersion and compensates for chromatic dispersion in fiber that causes the light pulses to spread and generate signal impairment. Do you get WDM system? Just start to build your own WDM system now!

WBMMF – Next Generation Duplex Multimode Fiber in the Data Center

Enterprise data center and cloud operators use multimode fiber for most of their deployments because it offers the lowest cost means of transporting high data rates for distances aligned with the needs of these environments. The connections typically run at 10G over a duplex multimode fiber pair—one transmit (Tx) fiber and one receive (Rx) fiber. Upgrading to 40G and 100G using MMF has traditionally required the use of parallel ribbons of fiber. While parallel transmission is simple and effective, continuation of this trend drives higher cost into the cabling system. However, a new generation of multimode fiber called WBMMF (wideband multimode fiber) is on the way, which can enable transmission of 40G or 100G over a single pair of fibers rather than the four or ten pairs used today. Now, let’s get close to WBMMF.

What Is Wideband Multimode Fiber?
WBMMF is a new multimode fiber type under development that will extend the ability of conventional OM4 multimode fiber to support multiple wavelengths. Unlike traditional multimode fiber, which supports transmission at the single wavelength of 850 nm, WBMMF will support traffic over a range of wavelengths from 850 to 950 nm. This capability will enable multiple lanes of traffic over the same strand of fiber to transmit 40G and 100G over a single pair of fibers and to drastically increase the capacity of parallel-fiber infrastructure, opening the door to 4-pair 400GE and terabit applications. Multimode fiber continues to provide the most cost-effective platform for high bandwidth connectivity in the data center, and with the launch of the WBMMF solution, that platform has been extended to support higher speeds with fewer fibers and at greater distances.

Wideband Multimode Fiber

What Is the Technology Behind WBMMF?
WBMMF uses short wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM) to significantly increase its transmission capacity by four times. WDM technology is well known for its use in single-mode transmission, but has only recently been adapted for use with vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs), which have been proven in high-speed optical communications and are widely deployed in 10G interconnection applications. SWDM multiplexes different wavelengths onto duplex MMF utilizing WDM VCSEL technology. By simultaneously transmitting four VCSELs, each operating at a slightly different wavelength, a single pair WBMMF can reliably transfer 40G (4x10G) or 100G (4x25G). The use of SWDM then enables WBMMF to maintain the cost advantage of multimode fiber systems over single-mode fiber in short links and greatly increases the total link capacity in a multimode fiber link.


Why Does WBMMF Make Sense?
In order to increase transmission speeds up to 10G or 25G, transceiver vendors simply increased the speed of their devices. When 40G and 100G standards were developed, transmission schemes that used parallel fibers were introduced. This increase in fiber count provided a simple solution to limitations of the technology available at the time. It was accepted in the industry and allowed multimode links to maintain a low cost advantage. However, the fiber count increase was not without issues. At some point, simply increasing the number of fibers for each new speed became unreasonable, in part because the cable management of parallel fiber solutions, combined with the increasing number of links in a data center, becomes very challenging. Please see the picture below. Usually, 40G is implemented using eight of the twelve fibers in an MPO connector. Four of these eight fibers are used to transmit while the other four are used to receive. Each Tx/Rx pair is operating at 10G. But if we use WDMMF, two fibers are enough. Each Tx/Rx pair can transmit 40G by simultaneously transmitting four different wavelengths. This enables at least a four-fold reduction in the number of fibers for a given data rate, which provides a cost-effective cabling solution for data center.

Parallel fibers vs WBMMF

WBMMF is born at the right moment to meet the challenges associated with escalating data rates and the ongoing need to build cost-effective infrastructure. Besides, WBMMF will support existing OM4 applications to the same link distance. Optimized to support wavelengths in the 850 nm to 950 nm range to take advantage of SWDM, WBMMF ensures not only more efficient support for future applications to useful distances, but also complete compatibility with legacy applications, making it an ideal universal medium that supports not only the applications of the present, but also those of the future.

Related Article: OM5 Multimode Fiber FAQs

From O to L: the Evolution of Optical Wavelength Bands

In optical fiber communications system, several transmission bands have been defined and standardized, from the original O-band to the U/XL-band. The E- and U/XL-bands have typically been avoided because they have high transmission loss regions. The E-band represents the water peak region, while the U/XL-band resides at the very end of the transmission window for silica glass.

Optical Wavelength Bands

Intercity and metro ring fiber already carry signals on multiple wavelengths to increase bandwidth. Fibers entering the home will soon do the same. Now there are several types of optical telecom systems have been developed, some based on time division multiplexing (TDM) and others on wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), either dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) or coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM). This article may represent the evolution of optical wavelength bands mainly by describing these three high-performance systems.

Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing
DWDM systems were developed to deal with the rising bandwidth needs of backbone optical networks. The narrow spacing (usually 0.2 nm) between wavelength bands increases the number of wavelengths and enables data rates of several Terabits per second (Tbps) in a single fiber.

These systems were first developed for laser-light wavelengths in the C-band, and later in the L-band, leveraging the wavelengths with the lowest attenuation rates in glass fiber as well as the possibility of optical amplification. Erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs, which work at these wavelengths) are a key enabling technology for these systems. Because WDM systems use many wavelengths at the same time, which may lead to much attenuation. Therefore optical amplification technology is introduced. Raman amplification and erbium-doped fiber amplifiers are two common types used in WDM system.


In order to meet the demand for “unlimited bandwidth,” it was believed that DWDM would have to be extended to more bands. In the future, however, the L-band will also prove to be useful. Because EDFAs are less efficient in the L-band, the use of Raman amplification technology will be re-addressed, with related pumping wavelengths close to 1485 nm.

Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing
CWDM is the low-cost version of WDM. Generally these systems are not amplified and therefore have limited range. They typically use less expensive light sources that are not temperaturestabilized. Larger gaps between wavelengths are necessary, usually 20 nm. Of course, this reduces the number of wavelengths that can be used and thus also reduces the total available bandwidth.


Current systems use the S-, C- and L-bands because these bands inhabit the natural region for low optical losses in glass fiber. Although extension into the O and E-band (1310 nm to 1450 nm) is possible, system reach (the distance the light can travel in fiber and still provide good signal without amplification) will suffer as a result of losses incurred by use of the 1310 nm region in modern fibers.

Time Division Multiplexing
TDM systems use either one wavelength band or two (with one wavelength band allocated to each direction). TDM solutions are currently in the spotlight with the deployment of fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies. Both EPON and GPON are TDM systems. The standard bandwidth allocation for GPON requires between 1260 and 1360 nm upstream, 1440 to 1500 nm downstream, and 1550 to 1560 nm for cable-TV video.

To meet the rise in bandwidth demand, these systems will require upgrading. Some predict that TDM and CWDM (or even DWDM) will have to coexist in the same installed network fibers. To achieve this, work is underway within the standardization bodies to define filters that block non-GPON wavelengths to currently installed customers. This will require the CWDM portion to use wavelength bands far away from those reserved for GPON. Consequently, they will have to use the L-band or the C- and L-bands and provided video is not used.


In each case, sufficient performance has been demonstrated to ensure high performance for today’s and tomorrow’s systems. From this article, we know that the original O-band hasn’t satisfied the rapid development of high bandwidth anymore. And the evolution of optical wavelength bands just means more and more bands will be called for. In the future, with the growth of FTTH applications, there is no doubt that C- and L-bands will play more and more important roles in optical transmission system. Fiberstore offer all kinds of products for WDM optical network, such as CWDM/DWDM MUX DEMUX and EDFA. For more information, please visit www.fs.com.

Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier (EDFA) Used in WDM System

The capacity of fiber optical communication systems has undergone enormous growth during the last few years in response to huge capacity demand for data transmission. With the available wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) equipment, commercial system can transport more than 100 channels over a single fiber. However, increasing the number of channels in such systems will eventually result in the usage of optical signal demultiplexing components with greater values of optical attenuation. Besides, when transmitted over long distances, the optical signal is highly attenuated. Therefore, to restore the optical power budget, it is necessary to implement optical signal amplification. This article may mainly tell you  why EDFA is used in WDM system and how does it work.

Why Use EDFA in WDM System?

EDFA stands for erbium-doped fiber amplifiers, which is an optical amplifier that uses a doped optical fiber as a gain medium to amplify an optical signal. EDFA has large gain bandwidth, which is typically tens of nanometers and thus actually it is enough to amplify data channels with the highest data rates. A single EDFA may be used for simultaneously amplifying many data channels at different wavelengths within the gain region. Before such fiber amplifiers were available, there was no practical method for amplifying all channels between long fiber spans of a fiber-optic link. There are practically two wavelength widows C-Band (1530nm-1560nm) and L-Band (1560nm-1600nm). EDFA can amplify a wide wavelength range (1500nm-1600nm) simultaneously, which just satisfies the DWDM application, hence it is very useful in WDM for amplification.

How Does EDFA Work ?

The basic configuration for incorporating the EDFA in an optical fiber link is shown in the picture below. The signals and pump are combined through a WDM coupler and launched into an erbium-doped fiber (EDF). The amplified output signals can be transmitted through 60-100km before further amplification is required.

Erbium-doped fiber is the core technology of EDFA, which is a conventional silica fiber doped with erbium ions as the gain medium. Erbium ions (Er3+) are having the optical fluorescent properties that are suitable for the optical amplification. When an optical signal such as 1550nm wavelength signal enters the EDFA from input, the signal is combined with a 980nm or 1480nm pump laser through a wavelength division multiplexer device. The input signal and pump laser signal pass through erbium-doped fiber. Here the 1550nm signal is amplified through interaction with doped erbium ions. This can be well understood by the energy level diagram of Er3+ ions given in the following figure.


Where to Buy EDFA for Your WDM System ?

To ensure the required level of amplification over the frequency band used for transmission, it is highly important to choose the optimal configuration of the EDFAs. Before you buy a EDFA, keep in mind that the flatness and the level of the obtained amplification, and the amount of EDFA produced noise are highly dependent on each of the many parameters of the amplifier. Fiberstore provide many kinds of EDFAs, especially the DWDM EDFAs (shown in the picture below), which have many output options (12dBm-35dBm). Besides, they are very professional in optical amplifiers. Whatever doubts you have, they can give a clear reply.


The More and More Mature Fiber Optic Cables Transmission Technology

Fiber optic media are any network transmission media that generally use glass, or plastic fiber in some special cases, to transmit network data in the form of light pulses. Within the last decade, optical fiber has become an increasingly popular type of network transmission media as the need for higher bandwidth and longer spans continues.

Fiber optic technology is different in its operation than standard copper media because the transmissions are “digital” light pulses instead of electrical voltage transitions. Very simply, fiber optic transmissions encode the ones and zeroes of a digital network transmission by turning on and off the light pulses of a laser light source, of a given wavelength, at very high frequencies. The light source is usually either a laser or some kind of Light-Emitting Diode (LED). The light from the light source is flashed on and off in the pattern of the data being encoded. The light travels inside the fiber until the light signal gets to its intended destination and is read by an optical detector.

Fiber optic cables are optimized for one or more wavelengths of light. The wavelength of a particular light source is the length, measured in nanometers (billionths of a meter, abbreviated “nm”), between wave peaks in a typical light wave from that light source. You can think of a wavelength as the color of the light, and it is equal to the speed of light divided by the frequency. In the case of Single-Mode Fiber (SMF), many different wavelengths of light can be transmitted over the same optical fiber at any one time. This is useful for increasing the transmission capacity of the fiber optic cable since each wavelength of light is a distinct signal. Therefore, many signals can be carried over the same strand of optical fiber. This requires multiple lasers and detectors and is referred to as Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM).

Typically, optical fibers use wavelengths between 850 and 1550 nm, depending on the light source. Specifically, Multi-Mode Fiber (MMF) is used at 850 or 1300 nm and the SMF is typicallyused at 1310, 1490, and 1550 nm (and, in WDM systems, in wavelengths around these primary wavelengths). The latest technology is extending this to 1625 nm for SMF that is being used for next-generation Passive Optical Networks (PON) for FTTH (Fiber-To-The-Home) applications. Silica-based glass is most transparent at these wavelengths, and therefore the transmission is more efficient (there is less attenuation of the signal) in this range. For a reference, visible light (the light that you can see) has wavelengths in the range between 400 and 700 nm. Most fiber optic light sources operate within the near infrared range (between 750 and 2500 nm). You can’t see infrared light, but it is a very effective fiber optic light source.

Above: Multimode fiber is usually 50/125 and 62.5/125 in construction. This means that the core to cladding diameter ratio is 50 microns to 125 microns and 62.5 microns to 125 microns.  There are several types of multimode fiber patch cable available today,  the most common are multimode sc patch cable fiber, LC, ST, FC, ect.

Tips: Most traditional fiber optic light sources can only operate within the visible wavelength spectrum and over a range of wavelengths, not at one specific wavelength. Lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) and LEDs produce light in a more limited, even single-wavelength, spectrum.

WARNING: Laser light sources used with fiber optic cables (such as the OM3 cables) are extremely hazardous to your vision. Looking directly at the end of a live optical fiber can cause severe damage to your retinas. You could be made permanently blind. Never look at the end of a fiber optic cable without first knowing that no light source is active.

The attenuation of optical fibers (both SMF and MMF) is lower at longer wavelengths. As a result, longer distance communications tends to occur at 1310 and 1550 nm wavelengths over SMF. Typical optical fibers have a larger attenuation at 1385 nm. This water peak is a result of very small amounts (in the part-per-million range) of water incorporated during the manufacturing process. Specifically it is a terminal –OH(hydroxyl) molecule that happens to have its characteristic vibration at the 1385 nm wavelength; thereby contributing to a high attenuation at this wavelength. Historically, communications systems operated on either side of this peak.

When the light pulses reach the destination, a sensor picks up the presence or absence of the light signal and transforms the pulses of light back into electrical signals. The more the light signal scatters or confronts boundaries, the greater the likelihood of signal loss (attenuation). Additionally, every fiber optic connector between signal source and destination presents the possibility for signal loss. Thus, the connectors must be installed correctly at each connection. There are several types of fiber optic connectors available today. The most common are: ST, SC, FC, MT-RJ and LC style connectors. All of these types of connectors can be used with either multimode or single mode fiber.

Most LAN/WAN fiber transmission systems use one fiber for transmitting and one for reception. However, the latest technology allows a fiber optic transmitter to transmit in two directions over the same fiber strand (e.g, a passive cwdm mux using WDM technology). The different wavelengths of light do not interfere with each other since the detectors are tuned to only read specific wavelengths. Therefore, the more wavelengths you send over a single strand of optical fiber, the more detectors you need.

Related Article:  Which Patch Cable Should I Choose for My Optical Transceiver?

Some Knoweledge About Erbium-droped Fiber Amplifer

The eribum-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA) was first reported in 1987, and, in the short period since then, its applications have transformed the optical communications industry. Before the advent of optical amplifers, optical transmission systems typically consisted of a digital transmitter and a receivere separated by spans of transmission optical fiber intersersed with optoelectronic regenerators. The optoelectronic regenerators corrected attenuation, dispersion, and other transmission degradations of the optical signal by detecting the attenuated and distorted data pulses, electronically reconstituting them, and then optically transmitting the regenerated data into the next transmission span.

The EDFA is an optical amplifer that faithfully amplifies lightwave signals purely in the optical domain. EDFAs have several potential functions in optical fiber transmission systems. They can be used as power amplifiers to boost transmitter power, as repeaters or in-line amplifiers to increase system reach, or as preamplifiers to enhance receiver sensitivity. The most far-reaching impact of EDFAs has resulted from their use as repeaters in place of conventional optoelectronic regenerators to compensate for transmission loss and extend the span between digital terminals. Used as a repeater, the optical amplifier offers the possibility of transforming the optical transmission line into a transparent optical pipeline that will support signals independent of their modulation format or their channel data rate. Additionally, optical amplifiers support the use of wavelenth division multiplexing (WDM), whereby signals of different wavelengths are combined and transmitted together on the same transmission fiber.

In fiber optic systems amplification of the signal is necessary because no fiber material is absolutely transparent. This causes the infrared light (usually around 1530nm) carried by a fiber to be attenuated as it travels through the material. Because of this attenuation, repeaters must be used in spans of optical fiber longer than approximately 100 kilometers.

The operating wavelength range of a standard EDFA spans over the entire so-called “C band” (1530 to 1560 nm) and therefore allows amplification of a variety of wavelength channels that are used in wave-length division multiplexing (WDM)applications. This is a major advantage over methods in which the optical signal is converted into an electrical signal, amplified and converted back to light. Due to the last step, such O/E-E/O regenerators require the demultiplexing and multiplexing of each single WDM channel at each regenerator site and an O/E-E/O pair for each channel.

EDFA Configurations

The configuration of a co-propagating EDFA is shown in Figure 5. The optical pump is combined with the optical signal into the erbium-doped fiber with a wavelength division multiplexer. A second multiplexer removes residual pump light from the fiber. An in-line optical filter provides additional insurance that pump light does not reach the output of the optical amplifiers. An optical isolator is used to prevent reflected light from other portions of the optical system from entering the amplifier.

fiber optic amplifer

Figure 5. An EDFA for which the optical signal and optical pump are co-propagating.

An EDFA with a counter propagating pump is pictured in Figure 6. The co-propagating geometry produces an amplifier with less noise and less output power. The counter propagating geometry produces a noisier amplifier with high output power. A compromise can be made by combining the co- and counter-propagating geometries in a bi-directional configuration.

EDFA Amplifer

The propagation and amplification properties of an erbium-doped fiber at 1550 nm are obtained. A simple EDFA is constructed, and its performance is tested. A small signal with wavelength of 1530 nm can be amplified with amplification up to 14 dB/m and SNR of 18.8, if a pumping laser of wavelength 980 nm and driving current 400 mA is used. A higher amplification is expected if a more intense pumping laser is supplied. The erbium doped fiber amplifier proves efficient and concise in amplifying signals around 1550 nm.

FBG Sensor Multiplexing Techniques On WDM System

Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG) is a simple and low-cost filter built into the core of a wavelength-specific fiber cable. FBGs are used as inline optical filters to block certain wavelengths, or as wavelength-specific reflectors.

In many applications a large number of sensors need to be used to achieve a distributed measurement of the parameters. In particular, using sensors in smart structures is of interest where sensor arrays are bonded or embedded into the materials to monitor the health of the structure. FBG sensors have a distinct advantage over other sensors because they are simple, intrinsic sensing elements that can be written into a fiber, and many sensors can be interrogated through a single fiber.

The most straightforward multiplexing technique for FBG sensors is wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), utilizing the wavelength-encording feature of an FBG-based sensor. The WDM technique is based on spectral splicing of an available source specturm. Each FBG sensor can be encoded with a unique wavelength along a single fiber. Since we are operating in the wavelength domain, the physical spacing between FBG sensors can be as short as desired to give accurate distributed information of measurands.

A parallel topology is used to allow simultaneous interrogation of all the sensors in WDM, as shown in Figure 4.15. A1 x N fiber optic splitter is used to divide the optical reflection into N channels, In each channel a matched fiber grating detects the wavelength shift from a specific FBG sensor.

Fiber splitter

In the parallel scheme each filter receives less than 1/2N of optical power as a result of using 1 x N fiber splitter and fiber coupler. More FBG sensors lead to a larger power penalty. An improved scheme using a serial matched FBG array is reported by Brady et al, as shown in Figure 4.15(b). This scheme is claimed to allow the optical power to be used more efficently than in the parallel topology. As can be seen, however, a large power penalty still exists through the use of the reflection of matched fiber gratings. A revised verison of the serial scheme is proposed, in which the transmisson of the matched FBG is used to monitor the wavelength shift from the corresponding sensing FBG. This reduces the power penalty of 6 dB.