Common Types of Fiber Optic Splitter
As a passive device, the fiber optic splitter plays an increasingly significant role in many of optical networks. From FTTX systems to traditional optical networks, fiber splitters provide capabilities that help customers maximize the functionality of optical network circuits. Thus an educated decision regarding splitter selection determines the long-term success and financial viability of a network build.
Normally, the present fiber optic splitter can be divided into two types: the PLC splitter and the FBT splitter. We will introduce the two types separately in the following passage.
PLC ( Planar Light-wave Circuit )
PLC splitters use an optical splitter chip to divide the incoming signal into multiple outputs. The chip, either silica or quartz-based, is available in varying polished finishes. It is composed of three layers: a substrate, the waveguide and the lid. Waveguides are fabricated using lithography onto a silica glass substrate, which allows for routing specific percentages of light. The physical appearance of the splitter varies depending on final assembly.
PLC splitters have high quality performance but low failure rate, such as low insertion loss, low PDL, high return loss and excellent uniformity over a wide wavelength range from 1260 nm to 1620 nm. In addition, its compact configuration and small size occupy little space. Different from FBT splitters, PLC splitters split equal splitter rations for all branches. When larger split configurations are required, PLC splitter is a better solution.
However, FBT fabrication process is very complex, thus setting a high technical threshold in application. Besides, they are more expensive than FBT splitters in the smaller ratios.
FBT (Fused Biconic Tapered)
FBT splitters are fused with a heat source similar to one-to-one fusion splice. The fibers are aligned in a group to create a specific location and length. Heat is applied to the aligned fibers while the fibers are monitored for polarization-dependent loss ( PDL ), split ration and insertion loss ( IL ). Once the desired parameters have been met on all fibers, the fusion process stops.
FBT splitters are well-known and are easy to produce, thus reducing cost of production. They can split unequal ratio, either symmetrical or non-symmetrical, according to the needs of real-time monitoring. Besides, FBT splitters can work on three different operating bands, such as 850 nm, 1310 nm and 1550 nm. Due to these benefits, these splitters are widely deployed in passive networks, especially for instances where the split configuration is smaller (1×2, 1×4, etc).
However, FBT splitters are limited in the number of quality splits that can be achieved in a single instance, so several must be spliced together when a larger split configuration is required. Besides, its poor uniformity can not ensure uniform spectroscopic and the insertion loss changes greatly with temperature variation.
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