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 What Is a Fiber Optic Splitter?

 

Fiber optic splitter, also referred to as optical splitter, or beam splitter, is an integrated waveguide optical power distribution device that can split an incident light beam into two or more light beams, and vice versa, containing multiple input and output ends. Optical splitter has played an important role in passive optical networks (like EPON, GPON, BPON, FTTX, FTTH, etc.) by allowing a single PON interface to be shared among many subscribers.

 

 

 How Does Fiber Optic Splitter Work?

 

Generally speaking, when the light signal transmits in a single mode fiber, the light energy cannot be entirely concentrated in the fiber core. A small amount of energy will be spread through the cladding of the fiber. That is to say, if two fibers are close enough to each other, the transmitting light in an optical fiber can enter into another optical fiber. Therefore, the reallocation technique of optical signal can be achieved in multiple fibers, which is how fiber optic splitter comes into being.

 

 

Generally speaking, when the light signal transmits in a single mode fiber, the light energy cannot be entirely concentrated in the fiber core. A small amount of energy will be spread through the cladding of the fiber. That is to say, if two fibers are close enough to each other, the transmitting light in an optical fiber can enter into another optical fiber. Therefore, the reallocation technique of optical signal can be achieved in multiple fibers, which is how fiber optic splitter comes into being.

 

 

 Fiber Optic Splitter Types

 

Classified by Package Style

The optical splitter can be terminated with different forms of connectors, and the primary package could be box type or stainless tube type. Fiber optic splitter box is usually used with 2mm or 3mm outer diameter cable, while the other is normally used in combination with 0.9mm outer diameter cables. Besides, it has variously different split configurations, such as 1x2, 1x8, 2x32, 2x64, etc.

Classified by Transmission Medium
According to the different transmission mediums, there are single mode optical splitter and multimode optical splitter. The multimode optical splitter implies that the fiber is optimized for 850nm and 1310nm operation, whereas the single mode one means that the fiber is optimized for 1310nm and 1550nm operation. Besides, based on working wavelength differences, there are single window and dual window optical splitters—the former is to use one working wavelength, while the latter fiber optic splitter is with two working wavelengths.

Classified by Manufacturing Technique
FBT splitter is based on traditional technology to weld several fibers together from the side of the fiber, featuring lower costs. PLC splitter is based on planar lightwave circuit technology, which is available in a variety of split ratios, including 1:4, 1:8, 1:16, 1:32, 1:64, etc, and can be divided into several types such as bare PLC splitter, blockless PLC splitter, ABS splitter, LGX box splitter, fanout PLC splitter, mini plug-in type PLC splitter, etc.

Normally speaking, the FBT splitters provide cost-effective solutions while the PLC splitters suit for high-density applications. The following chart has summarized several factors comparing between PLC splitter and FBT splitter.

 
Type PLC Splitter FBT Coupler Splitters
Operating Wavelength 1260nm-1650nm (full wavelength) 850nm, 1310nm, 1490nm and 1550nm
Splitter Ratios Equal splitter ratios for all branches Splitter ratios can be customized
Performance Good for all splits, high level of reliability and stability Up to 1:8 (can be larger with higher failure rate)
Input/Output One or two inputs with an output maximum of 64 fibers One or two inputs with an output maximum of 32 fibers
Housing Bare, Blockless, ABS module, LGX Box, Mini Plug-in Type, 1U Rack Mount Bare, Blockless, ABS module
Figure PLC Splitter FBT Coupler Splitters


 How to Choose the Right Fiber Optic Splitter?

 

In general, a superior fiber optic splitter needs to pass a series of rigorous tests. The performance indicators that will affect the fiber optic splitter are as follows:

 Insertion loss: Refers to the dB of each output relative to the input optical loss. Normally, the smaller the insertion loss value, the better the performance of the splitter.

 Return loss: Also known as reflection loss, refers to the power loss of an optical signal that is returned or reflected due to discontinuities in the fiber or transmission line. Normally, the larger the return loss, the better.

 Splitting ratio: Defined as the output power of the splitter output port in the system application, which is related to the wavelength of the transmitted light.

 Isolation: Indicates a light path optical splitter to other optical paths of the optical signal isolation.

Besides, uniformity, directivity, and PDL polarization loss are also crucial parameters that affect the performance of the beam splitter.

For the specific selections, FBT and PLC are the two main choices for the majority of users. The differences between FBT splitter vs PLC splitter normally lie in operating wavelength, splitting ratio, asymmetric attenuation per branch, failure rate, etc. Roughly speaking, the FBT splitter is regarded as a cost-effective solution. PLC splitter featuring good flexibility, high stability, low failure rate, and with wider temperature ranges can be used in more kinds of applications.

For the expenses, the costs of PLC splitters are generally higher than the FBT splitter owing to the complicated manufacturing technology. In specific configuration scenarios, split configurations below 1×4 are advised to use FBT splitter, while split configurations above 1×8 are recommended for PLC splitters. For a single or dual wavelength transmission, FBT splitter can definitely save money. For PON broadband transmission, PLC splitter is a better choice considering future expansion and monitoring needs.

 

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     Jincheng, Lin'an, Zhejiang, China
 
 +86 15088607575
 info@zion-communication.com

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