Fiber optic technology is transforming the way we communicate by enabling high-speed and reliable data transmission. However, when it comes to splitting fiber optic signals, there are two popular options, FBT splitters and PLC splitters. In this blog post, we will compare and contrast FBT (Fused Biconical Taper) splitters and PLC (Planar Lightwave Circuit) splitters to help you choose the right one for your fiber optic network.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Splitting Ratio
FBT splitters are typically available in 1×2 or 2×2 configurations, which means that they can split an incoming signal into two output signals. However, FBT splitters can also be cascaded to achieve higher splitting ratios. For example, two 2×2 FBT splitters can be cascaded to create a 1×4 splitter, which can split an incoming signal into four output signals.
PLC splitters are available in a wide range of port counts, including 1×2, 1×4, 1×8, 1×16, 1×32 and 1×64. This means that they can achieve a wider range of splitting ratios than FBT splitters. For example, a 1×4 PLC splitter can split an incoming signal into four output signals, while a 1×16 PLC splitter can split an incoming signal into sixteen output signals.
PLC splitters have an advantage in terms of port count and the ability to achieve a wider range of splitting ratios than FBT splitters.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Operating Wavelengths
FBT splitters work well in the 850 nm, 1310 nm, and 1550 nm wavelength ranges. PLC splitters, on the other hand, operate in a wider range of wavelengths, typically from 1260 nm to 1620 nm, making them suitable for use in WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) systems.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Asymmetrical Attenuation per Branch
FBT splitters use a fusion splicing process to join two optical fibers into a single point and then stretch the fused region to create a taper that splits the incoming optical signal. The split ratio of FBT splitters is determined by the length and width of the taper and can be adjusted to provide a specific ratio of optical power to each output branch. As a result, FBT splitters typically have low asymmetrical attenuation per branch, which makes them suitable for use in applications that require precise power distribution.
PLC splitters, on the other hand, are made using a planar lightwave circuit technology that integrates multiple optical waveguides onto a single substrate. The split ratio of PLC splitters is determined by the waveguide design and the direction of light propagation. PLC splitters are commonly used in high-density fiber optic networks and can be mass-produced with consistent performance, making them cost-effective. However, compared to FBT splitters, PLC splitters may have higher asymmetrical attenuation per branch, which can lead to unequal power distribution to the output branches.
FBT splitters have lower asymmetrical attenuation per branch compared to PLC splitters, which makes them suitable for applications that require precise power distribution, while PLC splitters are more cost-effective and commonly used in high-density fiber optic networks.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Temperature Dependent Loss
FBT splitters typically have a higher TDL than PLC splitters. The TDL of FBT splitters can be as high as 0.5 dB/°C, while the TDL of PLC splitters is typically around 0.2 dB/°C. This means that the insertion loss of an FBT splitter can increase more with temperature changes than a PLC splitter.
However, it’s important to note that both FBT and PLC splitters can be designed with low TDL, depending on the specific application requirements.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Failure Rate
Generally, PLC splitters have a lower failure rate compared to FBT splitters. This is because PLC splitters are fabricated using a more precise and reliable process, resulting in a more uniform and stable performance. FBT splitters, on the other hand, are made by fusing and tapering optical fibers, which can be more susceptible to inconsistencies and defects. However, the actual failure rate can depend on various factors such as the quality of the components used, installation, and environmental conditions.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Package Size
FBT (Fused Biconical Taper) splitters are larger in package size compared to PLC (Planar Lightwave Circuit) splitters. This is because FBT splitters are typically made by fusing and tapering two or more fibers together, which requires more physical space. In contrast, PLC splitters are made using lithography and etching techniques on a small piece of silica or silicon substrate, allowing them to be made in a compact package size.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Scalability
When it comes to scalability, PLC splitters are the clear winner. They can be easily integrated into a larger optical communication system and can be used to split signals into many outputs, making them ideal for large-scale applications. FBT splitters, on the other hand, are limited in their scalability, as they can only divide the signals into a limited number of outputs.
FBT Splitters VS PLC Splitters: Cost
In general, FBT (Fused Biconical Taper) splitters are less expensive than PLC (Planar Lightwave Circuit) splitters, especially for smaller splitter ratios. However, for larger ratios (e.g. 1×32), the cost difference between FBT and PLC splitters becomes smaller, and in some cases, PLC splitters may even be less expensive. Additionally, the total cost of a splitter can also depend on other factors, such as the specific application and the required performance specifications.
In conclusion, both FBT splitters and PLC splitters have their advantages and disadvantages. FBT splitters are simple, low-cost, and easy to manufacture, making them ideal for small-scale applications. PLC splitters, on the other hand, are more complex, but provide several advantages, including a compact design, high reliability, low insertion loss, and high uniformity. When choosing between the two types of splitters, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your optical communication system, as well as the long-term cost of ownership.
Bonelinks offers a wide range of passive optical splitters, including FBT (Fused Biconical Taper) splitters and PLC (Planar Lightwave Circuit) splitters. We are committed to providing our customers with high-quality products that meet your specific needs. Contact us if you have any needs.