DWDM terminal multiplexer

A DWDM terminal multiplexer

At this stage, a basic DWDM system contains several main components:

  1. A DWDM terminal multiplexer. The terminal multiplexer contains a wavelength-converting transponder for each data signal, an optical multiplexer and where necessary an optical amplifier (EDFA). Each wavelength-converting transponder receives an optical data signal from the client-layer, such as Synchronous optical networking [SONET /SDH] or another type of data signal, converts this signal into the electrical domain and re-transmits the signal at a specific wavelength using a 1,550 nm band laser. These data signals are then combined together into a multi-wavelength optical signal using an optical multiplexer, for transmission over a single fiber (e.g., SMF-28 fiber). The terminal multiplexer may or may not also include a local transmit EDFA for power amplification of the multi-wavelength optical signal. In the mid-1990s DWDM systems contained 4 or 8 wavelength-converting transponders; by 2000 or so, commercial systems capable of carrying 128 signals were available.
  2. An intermediate line repeater is placed approximately every 80–100 km to compensate for the loss of optical power as the signal travels along the fiber. The ‘multi-wavelength optical signal’ is amplified by an EDFA, which usually consists of several amplifier stages.
  3. An intermediate optical terminal, or optical add-drop multiplexer. This is a remote amplification site that amplifies the multi-wavelength signal that may have traversed up to 140 km or more before reaching the remote site. Optical diagnostics and telemetry are often extracted or inserted at such a site, to allow for localization of any fiber breaks or signal impairments. In more sophisticated systems (which are no longer point-to-point), several signals out of the multi-wavelength optical signal may be removed and dropped locally.
  4. A DWDM terminal demultiplexer. At the remote site, the terminal de-multiplexer consisting of an optical de-multiplexer and one or more wavelength-converting transponders separates the multi-wavelength optical signal back into individual data signals and outputs them on separate fibers for client-layer systems (such as SONET/SDH). Originally, this de-multiplexing was performed entirely passively, except for some telemetry, as most SONET systems can receive 1,550 nm signals. However, in order to allow for transmission to remote client-layer systems (and to allow for digital domain signal integrity determination) such de-multiplexed signals are usually sent to O/E/O output transponders prior to being relayed to their client-layer systems. Often, the functionality of output transponder has been integrated into that of input transponder, so that most commercial systems have transponders that support bi-directional interfaces on both their 1,550 nm (i.e., internal) side, and external (i.e., client-facing) side. Transponders in some systems supporting 40 GHz nominal operation may also perform forward error correction (FEC) via digital wrapper technology, as described in the ITU-T G.709 standard.
  5. Optical Supervisory Channel (OSC). This is data channel which uses an additional wavelength usually outside the EDFA amplification band (at 1,510 nm, 1,620 nm, 1,310 nm or another proprietary wavelength). The OSC carries information about the multi-wavelength optical signal as well as remote conditions at the optical terminal or EDFA site. It is also normally used for remote software upgrades and user (i.e., network operator) Network Management information. It is the multi-wavelength analogue to SONET’s DCC (or supervisory channel). ITU standards suggest that the OSC should utilize an OC-3 signal structure, though some vendors have opted to use 100 megabit Ethernet or another signal format. Unlike the 1550 nm multi-wavelength signal containing client data, the OSC is always terminated at intermediate amplifier sites, where it receives local information before re-transmission.