What is CWDM fiber?

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CWDM fiber refers to a type of fiber-optic technology that uses Coarse wavelength-division multiplexing.  Using CWDM fibers has increasingly become popular since its introduction in the 1980s especially among cable networks systems and telecommunications companies.  Through the multiplexing technology, more optical carrier signals can be accommodated using only one optical fiber or the so-called CWDM fiber.  This technology basically increases capacity or overall transmission load. With increased capacity by multiplexing of carrier signals, communication signals may be sent seamlessly in opposite directions.

Using Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing fibers, different wavelengths or colors from optical carriers may be combined to run through a single fiber.  When a signal is sent through a CWDM fiber for example, the receiving end or terminal is configured to separate the different wavelengths into their corresponding fiber.  This process is effectively done by the demultiplexer.  And with multiplexing, more optical carriers can be sent in opposite directions making the use of CWDM fiber technology very efficient in terms of cost and reliability.  Older technology involves a “dense” layout or spacing between the wavelengths that run through a single fiber.  The coarse method meanwhile in CWDM fibers has a wider wavelength space layout keeping them more stable.

Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing fibers also need not be cooled in terms of signal transmission as compared to dense or DWDM fiber technology.  Optical carriers with its different wavelengths are stabilized by the coarse layout and spacing provided by CWDM fiber technology. The temperature requirement of DWDM fiber technology contributes to its higher maintenance and power costs compared to using CWDM fibers. Most clients that implement fiber optic technology would require lower cost without having to yield on transmission capacity.  With the uncooled lasers or wavelengths involved in using CWDM fiber technology, its implementation is more cost-efficient for most clients that require better capacity in signal transmission.

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