A optical attenuator, also known as an optical attenuator, is a passive component that is used to reduce the power level of an optical signal by a predetermined factor in fiber optic transmission system. The intensity of the signal is described in decibels (dB) over a specific distance the signal travels. Fiber optic attenuators are generally used in single-mode long-haul application.
As technologies advanced, many principles are used in the operation of fiber optic attenuator to accomplish the desired power reduction. Several operation principles of fiber optic attenuators are being introduced here.
Fixed and variable attenuators are the main types that are being provided in today’s market. Their characteristics are being introduced.
Fixed Attenuator, as the name implies, has a fixed attenuation level. Fixed attenuator can theoretically be designed to provide any amount of attenuation that is desired and be set to deliver a precise power output. Fixed attenuators are typically used for single-mode applications. They mate to regular connectors of the identical type for example FC, ST, SC and LC.
Variable attenuators allow a range of adjustability, delivering a precise power output at multiple decibel loss levels. Variable attenuators can be divided into two types. One is stepwise variable attenuator which can change the attenuation of the single in known steps such as 0.1dB, 0.5dB, or 1 dB. The other one is continuously variable attenuator. This kind of fiber optic attenuator produces precise level of attenuation, with flexible adjustments. It allows the operators to adjust the attenuator to accommodate the changes required quickly and precisely without any interruption to the circuit. They are also available with various fiber optic connectors.
Fiber optic attenuator, an important device to control the power level of optical signal precisely, are being designed to different operation principles and types. Getting the basic knowledge about its working principle and types could help to select the fiber optic attenuator to the required applications.
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