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2010-8-22 Passive optical components

Passive optical components

 The drivers behind the modern passive optical network are the optical components that enable Quality of Service (QoS).

Single-mode, passive optical components include branching devices such as Wavelength- Division Multiplexer/Demultiplexers– (WDMs), isolators, circulators, and filters. These components are used in interoffice, loop feeder, Fiber In The Loop (FITL), Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial Cable (HFC), Synchronous Optical Network (SONET), and Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) systems; and other telecommunications networks employing optical communications systems that utilize Optical Fiber Amplifiers (OFAs) and Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexer (DWDM) systems. Industry proposed requirements for these components are detailed in GR-1209, Generic Requirements for Passive Optical Components.

The broad variety of passive optical componentsapplications include multichannel transmission, distribution, optical taps for monitoring, pump combiners for fiber amplifiers, bit-rate limiters, optical connects, route diversity, polarization diversity, interferometers, and conherent communication.

WDMs are optical components in which power is split or combined based on the wavelength composition of the optical signal. Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexers (DWDMs) are optical components that split power over at least four wavelengths. Wavelength insensitive couplers are passive optical components in which power is split or combined independently of the wavelength composition of the optical signal. A given component may combine and divide optical signals simultaneously, as in bidirectional (duplex) transmission over a single fiber. Passive optical components are data format transparent, combining and dividing optical power in some predetermined ratio (coupling ratio) regardless of the information content of the signals. WDMs can be thought of as wavelength splitters and combiners. Wavelength insensitive couplers can be thought of as power splitters and combiners.

An optical isolator is a two-port passive component that allows light (in a given wavelength range) to pass through with low attenuation in one direction, while isolating (providing a high attenuation for) light propagating in the reverse direction. Isolators are used as both integral and in-line components in laser diode modules and optical amplifiers, and to reduce noise caused by multi-path reflection in highbit-rate and analog transmission systems.

An optical circulator operates in a similar way to an optical isolator, except that the reverse propagating lightwave is directed to a third port for output, instead of being lost. An optical circulator can be used for bidirectional transmission, as a type of branching component that distributes (and isolates) optical power among fibers, based on the direction of the lightwave propagation.

A fiber optic filter is a component with two or more ports that provides wavelength sensitive loss, isolation and/or return loss. Fiber optic filters are in-line, wavelength selective, components that allow a specific range of wavelengths to pass through (or reflect) with low attenuation for classification of filter types).

GR-1221-CORE, Generic Reliability Assurance Requirements for Passive Optical Components, addresses the long-term reliability of passive optical components.