DWDM & CWDM Connectivity

Wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technology combines multiple signals onto a single optical fiber by using different wavelengths (colors). This technique enables better fiber utilization, increasing fiber capacity by a factor of 16-96, building effective optical networks.

In WDM technology, each channel is transparent to the speed and type of data. Any mix of LAN, SAN, OTN, SONET/SDH and native video services can be transmitted simultaneously over a single fiber or fiber pair. There are two types of WDM architectures: CWDM - coarse wavelength division multiplexing, and DWDM - dense wavelength division multiplexing. Each solution has characteristics that suite different environments, networks and user requirements.

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CWDM Solutions for Short Reach, Low Capacity, Sub-10G

In the past, CWDM was more popular as an initial network because of its low cost entry point and the difference in economic scale (typically a third of the cost of the equivalent DWDM optics), and typical initial requirements not to exceed 8 wavelengths. As the need for capacity grows and service rate increases to 10G/40G/100G and 200G, there is a demand to increase capacity by adding DWDM onto existing CWDM infrastructure (see DWDM over CWDM Network).

DWDM Solutions for Long Haul, High Capacity Networks

DWDM supports up to 96 wavelengths, spaced at 0.8nm apart, on a single channel. Its dense architecture fits 96 channels on a single fiber and, coupled with OTN, supports long haul applications with speed protocols of up to 100G/200G per channel. One of the biggest advantages of DWDM is the use of optical amplifiers, which can cost-effectively amplify the entire DWDM spectrum and overcome long spans of attenuations and distances. In addition, most DWDM optical transceivers support wavelength tunability, which reduces the part numbers needed and enables faster delivery time while also reducing spare parts.

Despite the difference in cost, the need for high speed, more capacity and longer distances has made DWDM the technology of choice for greenfield installations, and upgrade of existing networks, and is compulsory for transmission of 100G and above. PacketLight solutions can pack as many as 96 wavelengths into a single fiber. When boosted by Erbium-doped-fiber amplifiers (EDFAs), the DWDM systems can support ultra-long haul applications of thousands of kilometers without the need to add costly regenerators (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: DWDM Network with Mux/Demux and EDFAs

PacketLight’s CWDM and DWDM network solutions are cost-effective. The devices have a standard 1U footprint, allowing for low cost initial setup, easy installation and maintenance, and low incremental cost pay-as-you-grow architecture for future network growth, bringing down CAPEX and OPEX. In addition, the solutions facilitate simple and cost-effective vendor-agnostic network upgrade to support 10G/40G/100G services. These upgrades are seamless, with no traffic interruptions.

PacketLight WDM solutions support Layer-1 encryption per wavelength or service transparent to the traffic without any degradation and maintaining low latency.

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