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Comparison and analysis of multi-view between fiber optic PLC splitter and FBT splitter

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Update time : 2024-04-08 09:38:40
Introduction
Today’s fast-paced world of telecommunications is heavily dependent on fiber optic networks to transmit signals over long distances with minimal distortion and loss of signal quality. Fiber optic splitters play a crucial role in this context by enabling the distribution of optical signals from a single source to multiple destinations while maintaining signal quality. This article presents a comparative analysis of two popular types of fiber optic splitters, namely planar lightwave circuit (PLC) splitters and fused biconical taper (FBT) splitters. The advantages, disadvantages, manufacturing costs, and other aspects of both types are discussed to help you make an informed decision when choosing between these two options for your specific requirements.

 
Advantages
 
1. Fiber Optic PLC Splitters
The Fiber Optic PLC splitter is a type of waveguide divider that uses planar lightwave circuit technology to split optical signals. Some of the key advantages of PLC splitters are:
- Precise Uniformity: Fiber Optic PLC splitters offer a high degree of splitting uniformity, meaning the signal power is equally distributed to each output port, with negligible variations between ports. This ensures a consistent level of performance for each output across the entire wavelength range.
 
- Wide Wavelength Range: Fiber Optic PLC splitters support a wide wavelength range (typically 1260 to 1650 nm), which makes them suitable for various applications, including fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, passive optical networks (PONs), and other telecommunication systems.
 
- Compact Size: Fiber Optic PLC splitters are compact and modular, featuring a small form factor that enables easy integration and installation within fiber optic enclosures or cabinets. This saves space and ensures compatibility with various types of network equipment.
 
- Low Loss: Fiber Optic PLC splitters exhibit low insertion loss, which reduces signal attenuation and improves overall network performance. Additionally, PLC splitters have a low polarization dependent loss (PDL), which minimizes signal degradation due to variations in the polarization state of the input light.

 
2. FBT Splitters
 
FBT splitters are based on the fused biconical taper technology, which involves the fusion of two or more optical fibers at high temperatures. The main advantages of FBT splitters include:
- Cost-Effectiveness: FBT splitters are generally more cost-effective compared to PLC splitters due to their simpler manufacturing process and lower material costs. This makes them a popular choice for small to medium-scale network deployments.
 
- Customization: FBT splitters can be easily customized to meet specific customer requirements, such as unique splitting ratios or specific wavelengths. This makes them suitable for specialized applications where custom configurations are needed.
 
- Temperature Stability: FBT splitters exhibit good temperature stability, ensuring consistent performance over a wide range of environmental conditions.

 
Disadvantages
 
1. Fiber Optic PLC Splitters
The primary disadvantage of PLC splitters is their higher manufacturing cost compared to FBT splitters. This is mainly attributed to the complex fabrication process and the need for specialized equipment and materials.
 
2. FBT Splitters
The main drawbacks of FBT splitters are:
- Limited Wavelength Range: FBT splitters have a relatively narrow wavelength range compared to PLC splitters. This reduces their versatility and compatibility with certain types of optical networks or equipment.
 
- Lower Uniformity: FBT splitters typically have lower port-to-port uniformity compared to PLC splitters, which may result in variations in signal strength or power levels between different output ports. This characteristic can potentially lead to reduced network performance.
 
- Inability to Support High Splitting Ratios: FBT splitters struggle to achieve high splitting ratios (such as 1x64 or 1x128) without significantly compromising signal quality. In contrast, PLC splitters can achieve high splitting ratios with minimal losses and excellent uniformity.
 

Manufacturing Cost
 
The manufacturing cost of PLC splitters is higher than that of FBT splitters, primarily due to the complexity of their fabrication process. PLC splitters are manufactured using photolithography, which involves the use of costly equipment and materials such as silica-on-silicon wafers. On the other hand, FBT splitters use a relatively simple manufacturing process that involves the fusion of optical fibers, which require lower-cost materials and equipment.
 

Other Aspects
 
1. Configuration Flexibility: PLC splitters are available in a wide range of configurations, including 1x2, 1x4, 1x8, 1x16, 1x32, and 1x64, which cater to various network requirements. FBT splitters can also be customized to support different splitting ratios, but their ability to support high splitting ratios is limited compared to PLC splitters.
 
2. Environmental Sensitivity: Both PLC and FBT splitters exhibit good temperature stability and are capable of functioning well in various environmental conditions. However, FBT splitters are more sensitive to humidity, which may lead to performance degradation in high-humidity environments.
 

Conclusion
The choice between fiber optic PLC splitters and FBT splitters will largely depend on specific network requirements, budget, and performance expectations. PLC splitters offer higher performance, including better uniformity, a wider wavelength range, and support for higher splitting ratios, but come with a higher manufacturing cost. Meanwhile, FBT splitters are more cost-effective and can be customized for specific applications, but have limitations in terms of wavelength range and port-to-port uniformity. Understanding the unique advantages and disadvantages of each type of splitter will enable you to make an informed decision when deploying fiber optic networks.
 

FAQs
 
1. What is a fiber optic splitter and why is it important in telecommunications networks?
A fiber optic splitter is a passive component that distributes optical signals from a single input fiber to multiple output fibers. It plays a critical role in telecommunications networks by enabling the simultaneous transmission of signals to multiple destinations while maintaining signal quality and reducing network deployment costs.
 
2. How do PLC splitters differ from FBT splitters in terms of performance?
PLC splitters offer better performance characteristics compared to FBT splitters, including higher port-to-port uniformity, a wider wavelength range, and support for higher splitting ratios. Additionally, PLC splitters exhibit lower insertion loss and polarization dependent loss.
 
3. Are there any downsides to using PLC splitters?
The primary disadvantage of PLC splitters is their higher manufacturing cost compared to FBT splitters, which is attributed to the complexity of their fabrication process and the need for specialized equipment and materials.
 
4. What are the main applications of fiber optic splitters?
Fiber optic splitters are used in a wide range of applications, such as fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks, passive optical networks (PONs), cable TV systems, and other telecommunication systems where signals need to be distributed to multiple destinations.
 
5. Can FBT splitters be used in large-scale network deployments?
FBT splitters are suitable for small to medium-scale network deployments where cost-effectiveness is a key consideration. However, for large-scale deployments or networks with demanding performance requirements, PLC splitters may be a better choice due to their superior performance characteristics.
 
Keywords: fiber optic, PLC splitter, FBT splitter, planar lightwave circuit, fused biconical taper, telecommunications, optical networks

 
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