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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.