Optical Wavelength Band (2023)

Optical Wavelength Band

Surging network traffic demands increased capacity in optical transmission systems, driving advancements in fiber optic communications. Fiber-optic communication primarily occurs in low-loss wavelength regions. This post delves into Optical Wavelength Transmission Bands, discussing their concept, classification, applications, and addressing some frequently asked questions.

What is an Optical Wavelength Band?

An Optical Wavelength Transmission Band, also known as an optical band or wavelength range, is a specific portion of the optical spectrum designated for optical fiber telecommunications. It’s essential for achieving longer distances, higher speeds, and WDM functionality. This classification includes O-Band, E-Band, S-Band, C-Band, L-Band, and U-Band, each defined by its wavelength range. These bands enhance the efficiency and performance of fiber cables and transmission devices.

Quick View of Optical Wavelength Band

Band NameWavelengthsDescription
O-band1260 – 1360 nmOriginal band, PON upstream
E-band1360 – 1460 nmWater peak band
S-band1460 – 1530 nmPON downstream
C-band1530 – 1565 nmLowest attenuation, original DWDM band, compatible with fiber amplifiers, CATV
L-band1565 – 1625 nmLow attenuation, expanded DWDM band
U-band1625 – 1675 nmUltra-long wavelength

Optical Wavelength Bands Category

Now, let’s delve into a detailed introduction of the six Optical Wavelength Transmission Bands.

Fiber Optic Network Optical Wavelength Transmission Bands

(Source: Thefoa.org)

O-Band (1260nm – 1360nm)

  • Originates as the Original band.
  • Ideal for PON and high-speed Ethernet transmission.
  • Employs low fiber dispersion for high-speed optical communication.

E-Band (1360nm – 1460nm)

  • Known as the Extended band.
  • Features narrow-focused beams to minimize site interference.
  • Notable attenuation marks it as the lowest frequency band.

S-Band (1460nm – 1530nm)

  • Short band, abbreviated as S-Band.
  • Widely used in PON systems.
  • Aerospace, aviation, and maritime sectors rely on it for radar and satellite communication.
  • Efficient real-time data delivery, even with substantial antenna systems.

C-Band (1530nm – 1565nm)

  • Conventional band, denoted as C-Band.
  • Common choice for Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) applications.
  • Transmits higher data rates over extended distances due to low chromatic dispersion.

L-Band (1565nm – 1625nm)

  • Represents the Long band.
  • Suited for long-haul and submarine fiber optic systems.
  • Low attenuation ensures minimal signal degradation over long distances.
  • Crucial for Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) systems.

U-Band (1625nm – 1675nm)

  • Named the Ultralong band.
  • Vital in fiber optic amplifier systems.
  • Amplifies signals with minimal noise for optimal performance.

Beyond the above standard bands, there is one more wavelength band, the 850nm band.

Standard Bands vs 850nm Band

Optical Wavelength BandWavelength RangeUtilizationAdvantagesApplication
Standard Band(O-band, E-band, S-band, C-band, L-band,U-band)1260nm – 1675nmPON, Ethernet, long-haul systems, etc.High-speed, long-distance communicationBands optimized for specific applications
850nm Band850nmMultimode fiber communicationShort-range data communication with VCSELPreferred for Ethernet, Fibre Channel applications

FAQs about Optical Wavelength Band

Q: What does WDM stand for?
A: WDM (wavelength-division multiplexing) combines multiple optical signals on a single fiber by utilizing different colors of light or wavelengths. It is widely used in long-haul fiber optic systems.

Q: What is DWDM?
A: DWDM, or Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, was designed to address the growing bandwidth demands of backbone optical networks. DWDM systems use closely spaced wavelength bands (typically 0.2 nm) to accommodate a higher number of wavelengths, allowing data rates of several Terabits per second (Tbps) over a single fiber.

Q: Which bands are commonly used for DWDM networking?
A: The L-band is the most common choice for DWDM applications. Its low attenuation enables data transmission over long distances with minimal signal degradation.

Q: How many lambda are typically used in a DWDM system?
A: DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) systems can project multiple lambda circuits onto fiber strands. Currently, around 200 lambdas per fiber are typical, but thousands are feasible.

Q: What is CWDM?
A: CWDM stands for Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing. It’s a cost-effective version of WDM. CWDM systems are usually not amplified, leading to limited range. These systems often employ less costly light sources without temperature stabilization. They require larger gaps between wavelengths, usually around 20 nm. While this decreases the number of usable wavelengths and available bandwidth.

Q: What bands are commonly used for CWDM networking?
A: The S-band, C-band, and L-band are frequently employed for CWDM applications. Additionally, the O-band or E-band can be utilized to expand fiber infrastructure capacity.

Q: What is the difference between a wavelength band and a spectrum?
A: A wavelength band is a specific range of optical frequencies, while a spectrum encompasses the full range of frequencies. A wavelength band is a subset of the spectrum.

Q: What is the difference between C-band and O-band?
A: The O-band has low chromatic dispersion but higher attenuation, while the C-band features lower attenuation but higher chromatic dispersion. O-band was the first for which lasers and detectors were developed.

Q: How does C-band offer advantages?
A: C-band has better signal propagation capabilities, easily penetrating obstacles and covering larger areas. It also travels longer distances at high speed, benefiting rural areas.

Q: What are the disadvantages of C-band in satellite communication?
A: C-band signals are weak and susceptible to interference from other services operating in the same or adjacent frequency bands, such as Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) services.

Q: Is C-band the same as sub 6?
A: The sub-6 GHz domain contributes to C-band. C-band, in the context of 5G, translates into band n77 in the US, while other regions use band n78.

Q: How fast is C-band compared to mmWave?
A: 5G mmWave is considerably faster than C-band, with speeds around 26 times faster. C-band is useful for streaming and gaming.

Q: Can C-band penetrate buildings effectively?
A: A well-designed 5G network on C-band can provide good signal penetration through building walls due to its high speed and capacity.


This article presents an overview of the diverse Optical Wavelength Transmission Bands utilized in fiber optic communications. Each band exhibits distinct attributes and is well-suited for specific applications. Grasping the distinctions between these bands is essential for making the appropriate choice for your particular application.

Echo Huang

Echo Huang is an expert wordsmith and marketing professional at Bonelinks with more than 8 years of experience in high technology businesses – fiber optics, IoT, and telecommunication. She is very glad to share industry knowledge and communicate with others.

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