There are many scenarios in today’s networks that require the replication of an optical signal, also known as optical multicast. Some of those scenarios include video feeds or data streams that need to reach multiple endpoints simultaneously. In other scenarios an expensive 40/100Gbps port may need to be replicated. In either case, current multicasting solutions create potential problems associated with congestion, cost, and latency.
While there are a number of aspects that can be discussed in regards to optical switching technology, the focus of this article is to provide information about two key categories of optical switches – symmetric and asymmetric. The concept is very straightforward, but still important to understand when determining which type of optical switch will be most suitable for a given application.
symmetric optical switches,
asymmetric optical switches,
As a provider of Optical Modulation Index (OMI) Instruments used for optimizing laser transmitter performance, our organization has the opportunity to work closely with many of the talented technicians and engineers at the leading CATV operators around the world. As a result of the many discussions related to both the importance and use of OMI for maximizing system performance, there have been a number of consistent topics we have seen regarding the deployment of transmitters in the network.
optical modulation index,
As the use of mobile applications and services that require increasingly more bandwidth continues to grow, wireless service providers must find cost-effective and efficient methods for meeting the bandwidth demand. Legacy transport networks are no longer capable of adequately serving today’s cell sites. Newer technologies such as GPON, WDM-PON, and Ethernet over CWDM/DWDM are all well-suited to cost-effectively address the growing bandwidth needs of wireless service providers. Regardless of the technology used, M2 Optics’ SplitLight product is an integral part of the solution.
Currently, one of the challenges in deploying new, higher speed services to both enterprise customers as well as MDU/MTU customers is how to deliver these services using the least amount of space possible, while maintaining network flexibility and service quality. M2 Optics’ recent release of the SplitLighttm High-Density Platform (HDP) enables unprecedented space savings and enhanced flexibility without sacrificing performance.
If your company is like most that are involved with building or utilizing fiber optic systems, chances are you have a few spools of bare optical fiber laying around the lab. Since it is critical to ensure fiber-based equipment works as intended prior to deployment in the field, it is a recommended and common practice for engineers to simulate networks using spools of bare optical fiber. Because there have been a variety of different fibers available over the years, engineers can end up with fair amount of spools at their disposal.
optical fiber spools,
bare optical fiber
Traditionally, products have gone down the path of modularity for two reasons: cost and/or ease of replacement without effecting existing services. When the LGX form factor was first created for optical splitters, it made sense to have a modular approach for the first reason and to a lesser extent, the latter reason. When optical splitter modules were first put into the LGX form factor, the cost per splitter was considerably higher than it is today. Therefore, inserting modules into a chassis became a cost effective way to “grow” as needed. At the same time, the quality of those modules was not as high nor as repeatable as it is today, so despite any changes being service effecting (passive elements are not capable of protection switching around an outage) having the ability to replace the modules was also a key advantage.
fiber optic splitters,
passive optical network,
In recent years, companies have shown the benefits of “copying” and sending traffic from network backbones to purpose-built monitoring devices…no interference with the existing, “live” traffic and the traffic can be analyzed in real-time or stored for later playback. However, the best approaches to “copying” and sending the traffic to be monitored has been a source of contention. As 40/100G becomes more prevalent, how the traffic is accessed will become increasingly important.
Initially, the Switched Port Analyzer (SPAN) ports were used to deliver copies of traffic to analyzers, but this has posed several problems at the 1G and 10G data rates, which likely will increase exponentially with 40/100G:
- SPAN ports are part of the switch/router and operate in much the same way as typical ports, so the data is not always an exact copy
- Traffic congestion both on the router and on the SPAN port itself can result in increased latency or the traffic to be dropped completely
- Relying on a device that could be creating the problem to help identify it can be a self-defeating exercise
passive optical taps,
layer 1 switch,
network traffic analyzer
Learning to operate an OTDR properly is a very important skill for technicians at companies managing and servicing fiber optic networks. The OTDR is used frequently to determine length and loss characteristics, as well as for testing optical fibers for faults and related issues that can negatively affect network performance.
otdr launch fiber,
fiber optic training,
As virtualization and cloud applications become more and more prevalent in Data Centers, POPs, Head-ends, and Central Offices, the available rack space needed to house the equipment for these applications is shrinking. While the space needed to store, process, route, or switch the data becomes more compact, one thing that remains difficult to reduce is the physical layer infrastructure. As traffic enters or exits a facility, most providers want the capability to monitor what is being delivered or sent to/from their site. At the larger sites, this data traffic is riding on fiber, and in many cases, there are a number of fibers coming into or out of a given site. To be able to accurately monitor this traffic, a passive optical tap is used to duplicate the traffic and send it to a monitoring device that can analyze the header information native to the traffic type. In the past, these optical taps were relatively expensive and bulky. Even today, most vendors cannot provide more than 24 taps in a single 1RU footprint.