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CWDM Transceivers

Course Wavelength Division Multiplexing, or CWDM, is a cost-effective method to scale connections over existing fiber infrastructure. Passive CWDM networks can support point-to-point connections or point-to-multipoint connections for fiber rings or add/drop application.

CWDM transmits up to 18 connections spaced at 20nm increments over the optical spectrum, (between 1271nm and 1611nm). The optical spacing enables CWDM to transmit and receive up to 18 channels over a fiber pair.

course wavelength division multiplexing

The longest eight wavelengths, 1471nm ~ 1611nm are the most commonly used in optical communications networks as they provide the best optical performance over distance (up to 160km @1G) and data rates (10G).

Wavelengths Data Rate/Form Factor Distance/Reach
1271, 1291, 1311, 1331, 1351, 1371, 1391, 1411, 1431, 1451 SFP – 1G
SFP+ - 10G
XFP – 10G
Up to 40Km
Up to 40KM
Up to 40KM
1471, 1491, 1511, 1531, 1551, 1571, 1591, 1611 SFP – 1G
SFP+ - 10G
XFP – 10G
Up to 160KM
Up to 80KM
Up to 80KM

The distance between locations is a function of the by the optical budget of the CWDM transceivers and the loss budget in the fiber optic network. CWDM transmission cannot be amplified, so planning an upgrade strategy from 1G to 10G is very important.

The ITU G.694.2 CWDM grid was revised in 2003 to shift the center wavelength one nanometer. The official ITU grid now reads 1471, 1491, 1511, etc., rather than the common commercial reference of 1470, 1490, 1510 etc. All typical CWDM transceivers are in compliance with the current ITU center wavelength requirements (1471, 1491, 1511, etc.) despite being referred to as 1470, 1490, etc.

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