Tag Archives: PLC splitter

Fiber Splitter for FTTH Applications

Passive optical network (PON) has been widely applied in the construction of FTTH (fiber to the home). With PON architecture, network service providers can send the signal to multiple users through a single optical fiber, which can help them save great costs. To build the PON architecture, optical fiber splitter is necessary.

What Is Fiber Splitter?

The fiber splitter is a passive component specially designed for PON networks. Fiber splitter is generally a two-way passive equipment with one or two input ports and several output ports (from 2 to 64). Fiber splitter is used to split the optical signal into several outputs by a certain ratio. If the ratio of a splitter is 1×8 , then the signal will be divided into 8 fiber optic lights by equal ratio and each beam is 1/8 of the original source. The splitter can be designed for a specific wavelength, or works with wavelengths (from 1260 nm to 1620 nm) commonly used in optical transmission. Since fiber splitter is a passive device, it can provide high reliability for FTTH network. Based on the production principle, fiber splitters include Planar Lightwave Circuit (PLC) and Fused Bionic Taper (FBT).

PLC splitters are produced by planar technology. PLC splitters use silica optical waveguide technology to distribute optical signals from central office to multiple premise locations. The output ports of PLC splitters can be at most 64. This type of splitters is mainly used for network with more users.

The Structure of PLC splitters

Internal Structure

The following figure shows a PLC splitter. The optical fiber is splitted into 32 outputs. PLC chip is made of silica glass embedded with optical waveguide. The waveguide has three branches of optical channels. When the light guided through the channels, it is equally divided into multiple lights (up to 64) and transmitted via output ports.


Outside Configuration

Bare splitter is the basic component of PLC fiber splitter. For better protection of the fragile fiber and optimized use, PLC splitters are often equipped with loose tube, connector and covering box. PLC splitters are made in several different configurations, including ABS, LGX box, Mini Plug-in type, Tray type, 1U Rack mount, etc. For example, 1RU rack mount PLC splitter (as shown in the figure below) is designed for high density fiber optical distribution networks. It can provide super optical performance and fast installation. This splitter is preassembled and fibers are terminated with SC connectors. It’s ready for immediate installation.


FBT splitters are made by connecting the optical fibers at high temperature and pressure. When the fiber coats are melted and connected, fiber cores get close to each other. Then two or more optical fibers are bound together and put on a fused taper fiber device. Fibers are drawn out according to the output ratio from one single fiber as the input. FBT splitters are mostly used for passive networks where the split configuration is smaller.

PLC Splitters From FS.COM

Fiberstore offers a wide range of PLC splitters that can be configured with 1xN and 2xN. Our splitters are designed for different applications, configurations including LGX, ABS box with pigtail, bare, blockless, rack mount package and so on.

Port Configuration Package Style Fiber Diameter
Connector (Input/output) Pigtail Length
1×2 Steel tube, bare fiber 250μm None 1.5m
1×4 Mini module 900μm SC APC/UPC 2.0m
1×8 Pigtailed ABS box 2.00mm LC APC/UPC 3.0m
1×16 Mini plugged-in 3.0mm FC APC/UPC Customized
1×64 Splice Tray Type Customized
2×16 Rack mount

Fiber splitter is an economical solution for PON architecture deployment in FTTH network. It can offer high performance and reliability against the harsh environment conditions. Besides, the small sized splitter is easy for installation and flexible for future network reconfiguration. Therefore, it’s a wise choice to use fiber splitter for building FTTH network.

Comparison Between FBT and PLC Splitters

Enabling a single fiber interface to be shared among many subscribers, fiber optic splitters play an increasingly significant role in many of today’s optical networks. From FTTx systems to traditional optical networks, splitters provide capabilities that help users maximize the functionality of optical network circuits. In this article, I’d like to give a short introduction of fiber optic splitters.

Overview of FBT and PLC Splitters

In simple terms, a fiber optical splitter is a passive optical device that can split, or separate beams into two or more light beams. Based on the configuration of the splitter, these beams may or may not have the equal optical power as the original beam. By means of different constructions, the outputs of a splitter can have varying degrees of throughput, which is highly beneficial when designing optical networks.

fiber optic splitter

Now although technology continually evolves, and there are a variety of existing splitters in the market, the most two common types of fiber optic splitter are: fused biconic tapered splitter (FBT Splitter) and planar lightwave circuit splitter (PLC Splitter).

FBT is the traditional technology in which two fibers are placed closely together and fused together by applying heat while the assembly is being elongated and tapered. As the technology continues developing, the quality of FBT splitter is very good and they can be applied in a cost-effective way. Now FBT is designed to split power in optical telecommunication and widely used in passive networks, especially where the split configuration is relatively small.

FBT splitter.jpg

PLC splitter is a better choice for application where large split configurations are required. It uses an optical splitter chip to divide the incoming signal into multiple outputs. PLC splitter composes of three layers: a substrate, a waveguide, and a lid. The waveguide plays a key role in the splittering process which allows for passing specific percentages of light. Therefore, PLC splitters offer very accurate splits and a low loss. What’s more, PLC splitters have several types such as bare PLC splitter, blockless PLC splitters, fanout PLC splitter, mini-plug in type PLC splitter, etc.

PLC splitter.jpg

With the growth of FTTx worldwide, in order to serve mass subscribers, the demand for large split configurations in these networks has also grown quickly. Because of the performance benefits and overall low cost, PLC splitters are now the better solutions for these types of applications.

FBT Splitter vs. PLC Splitter

In optical networks, signals need to be splitted somewhere in order to serve for different customers. Splitter technology has made great progress in the past few years by introducing PLC splitter. However, being similar in size and outer appearance, the two types of splitter still have many differences. Here is a brief comparison of them.


FBT splitter is made out of materials that are easily available, for example, steel, fiber, hot dorm and others. All of these materials are cheap, which determines the low cost of the device itself. The technology of the device manufacturing is also relatively simple, which leads to its low prices as well. Compared with FBT splitters, the technology of PLC splitter is more complicated and expensive. It uses semiconductor technology production. Hence it is more difficult to manufacture PLC splitters. And the price of the device is higher.

Operating Wavelength

FBT splitters only supports three wavelengths: 850 nm, 1310 nm and 1550 nm, which makes its inability to works on other wavelengths. While PLC splitter can support wavelength from 1260 to 1650 nm. The adjustable rang of wavelength allows PLC splitter more wide applications.

Split Ratio

The split ratio of FBT splitter is up to 1:32, while the ratio PLC splitter goes up to 64, providing a high reliability. Furthermore, the signal in PlC splitter can be split equally due to technology implemented.


In certain areas, temperature can be a crucial factor that affects the performance of optical components. Therefore, sometimes devices with good cold resistance is also vital. FBT splitter can work stable under the temperature of -5 to 75℃. PLC splitter can work at a wider temperature range of -40 to 85 ℃, providing relatively good performance in the areas of extreme climate.

Apart from the differences mentioned above, there are still other differences between FBT splitter and PLC splitter. For example, compared with FBT splitter, the size of PLC splitter is more compact. Hence, PLC spitter is more suitable for density applications.


In conclusion, this article introduce the fiber optical splitters and the differences between FBT splitter and PLC splitter. It’s significant to choose the most suitable splitters for your networks. There are a variety of splitters avaible in Fiberstore. If you want to know detailed information, please visit FS.COM.

How to Ensure a High Quality PLC Splitter?

PLC (Planar Lightwave Circuit) splitter is an important component in PON (passive optical network) where a single optical input is split into multiple outputs. This makes it possible to deploy a Point to Multi Point physical fiber network with a single OLT (optical line terminal) port serving multiple ONTs (optical network terminal). The most common split ratios are 1:N or 2:N. N represents the output ports, usually as 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. The optical input power is distributed uniformly across all output ports. The PLC splitter shares the cost and bandwidth of the OLT and reduces fiber lines. This article will tell about how to keep a high quality PLC splitter from manufacturing to testing sides.


Key Manufacturing Steps of PLC Splitter

PLC splitter is composed by many miniature parts. Among them, there are three main components: fiber array for the input and output, and the chip. These three main components decide whether the PLC splitter is of good quality or not. Let’s see the key manufacturing steps of a PLC splitter.

Step1. Components Preparation

The PLC circuit chip is designed and embedded on a piece of glass wafer. Each end of the glass wafer is polished to ensure high precision flat surface and high purity. The V-grooves are grinded into a glass substrate. A single fiber or multiple ribbon fiber is assembled onto the glass substrate. This assembly is polished.

Step2. Alignment

After preparing the three components, it’s time for alignment. The input and output fiber array is set on a goniometer stage to align with the chip. Physical alignment between the fiber arrays and the chip is monitored through the power level output from the fiber array. Epoxy is then applied to the fiber array and the chip to affix their positions.

Step3. Cure

The assembly will be placed in a UV chamber to be fully cured at a controlled temperature.

Step4. Packaging

The bare aligned splitter is assembled into a metal housing where fiber boots are set on both ends of the assembly. A temperature cycling test will be done for a final screening to ensure the final product condition.

Step5. Testing

Optical testing items include insertion loss, uniformity and polarization dependent loss. This testing is to ensure the splitter compliant to the optical parameters in GR-1209 CORE specification.

Testing Standards of PLC Splitter

Then how to determine the quality of a PLC splitter? The GR-1209 standards provides comprehensive optical performance criteria. The following will introduce these specifications such as optical bandpass, insertion loss, return loss, uniformity and directivity.

Optical Bandpass

In a PON system, the downstream transmission uses 1490nm wavelength and 1310nm wavelength for the upstream transmission. Besides, the requirement for RF video overlay and network testing/maintenance should also be considered. The transmission wavelength for RF video is 1550 nm. And the wavelengths for networking testing and maintenance are 1550 nm and 1625 nm. So the standard opterating wavelength for a PON splitter is determined as 1260~1650 nm which covers most of the optical bands.

Insertion Loss

The optical splitter has the largest attenuation in a PON system. The insertion loss transfers from the input port to the output port. In order to conserve the power of a PON system, the insertion loss should be reduced to the least. There are formulas to calculate the maximum insertion loss of an optical splitter in a PON system according to the GR-1209 standard: 0.8 + 3.4 log2N (for 1xN optical splitter) and 1.0 + 3.4 log2N. To decide if the insertion loss is in the qualified range, you need to choose one formula to calculate.

Return Loss

Optical return loss is part of the power transferred from one input port back to the same input port or from an output port back to the same output port. A high return loss will influence the data transmission quality. So it’s important to minimize the noise to keep the PON system power for a better transmission.


Uniformity means the maximum insertion loss value between one input port and any two output ports or between two input ports and one output port. This can ensure that the transmission power at each splitter output port is the same in a PON system to simplify the network design.


Directivity is the part of power transferred from one input port to another input port or from an output port to another output port. For a 2xN optical splitter, when light injects into one of the input ports, light doesn’t only propagate out of the output ports. Some of the light propagates back through the second input port. And when the light injects into one of the output ports, light propagates back through the other output ports. In a bidirectional transmission system such as a PON, directivity is useful to reduce signal crosstalk. A high directivity value will increase the insertion loss due to the optical power loss.


FS.COM provides a variety of PLC splitters including 1×2, 1×4, 1×8, 1×16, 1×32, 1×64; 2×2, 2×4, 2×8, 2×16, 2×32, 2×64 in various package options, which offer cost-effective solutions for your applications. To ensure high performance, we have set a quality assurance program for PLC splitter. We always care every detail both in manufacture and testing. For detailed information, please contact us via sales@fs.com.

Brief Introduction of Fiber Optic Splitter

Fiber optic splitters are quite important in today’s optical network. Splitters can help users maximize the functionality of optical network circuits. A fiber optical splitter is a passive optical device that can split, or separate, an incident light beam into two or more light beams. These beams may or may not have the same optical power as the original beam. The outputs of a splitter can have various degrees of throughput. And that is very useful to decide whether the splitter is used for network monitoring or for a loss budget in a passive optical network (PON) architecture when designing optical networks. This article will give brief introduction of fiber optical splitter.

There are two kinds of the most commonly used fiber optical splitters. And they are planar lightwave circuit (PLC) and fused biconical taper (FBT). PLC splitters (as shown in the following picture), from the name, it’s easy to find out that PLC splitter is based on planar lightwave circuit technology. It uses an optical splitter chip to divide the incoming signal into multiple outputs. It consists of three layers including a substrate, the waveguide, and the lid. The waveguide layer accepts the incoming optical signal and passes it to the outputs. FBT splitter is fused with a heat source similar to a fusion splice. Fibers are aligned in a group to create a specific location and length and will be fused with heat to meet the desired parameters such as insertion loss. Fused fibers are put in a V-shaped groove and fixed in a silica tube with a mix of epoxy and silica powder to get the proper heat.


Fiber Optical Split Ratios

Fiber optical splitters vary in numbers of inputs and outputs. The split ratios are based on the network use of fiber optical splitters. In a PON architecture, it uses splitters to split a single fiber into multiple fibers to feed as many as 64 end users. A typical split ratio in PON application is 1:32, or one in coming fiber split into 32 outputs.

Large split ratios like 1:32 or 1:64 are often found in some kind of housing. That’s because with so many fibers related to these splitters, a platform should be used to manage the splitter modules, patch modules, patch cables, etc. Most often a high-density fiber bay is required so that the splitters can be all placed in a distribution site or a PON enclosure. The PON cabinet plays a significant role in today’s applications since the space is so limited. When it comes to a high-density frame with varying split ratios and large number of patch cords, the distribution frame is critical for a good cable management.

Cost Saving in FTTx/PON Applications

As the city grows and subscribers increase, the network architect must deal with multiple distribution points and backhaul. To meet so many subscribers’ requirements, the flexibility in head-end locations, distribution points and split ratios becomes more significant. To network service provider, saving capital and operational costs is important.

On one side, fiber optical splitters can save fiber cost by reducing the fiber usage and that’s why they are so important in FTTx/PON networks. Using a single fiber to feed as many as 64 end users significantly reduces the fiber quantity. On the other side, the long-term operation costs can’t be ignored either in optical network splitter applications. That’s one of PON’s advantages. For example, it can decrease the power consumption.

Another way to save cost is to ease maintenance and increase the flexibility for smaller split ratios, which lead to more bandwidth per subscriber. For example, a service provider would likely need to split the optical terminal line (OLT) with a 1:2 splitter, and adjust the split ratios from there based on delivery to residential (1:32). These multiple split ratios can create flexibility in the network as long as the utilization of transport electronics such as OLT is concerned. Loss budget can be greatly influenced by the use of multiple splitters.


From the above content, to run a network architecture, the network success and cost should be paid attention. And fiber optical splitter is such a good device to increase the efficiency of optical infrastructure and save the capital and future operational cost.