Types of Optical Multiplexer



Multiplexer Video Tutorials

Multiplexers Tutorial 01 - SO-CWDM-MUX-18CH+MON

This movie will describe how to patch the CWDM 18CH MUX. The outside of the mux has Tx and Rx labels.

Multiplexers Tutorial 02 - network with 8ch CWDM multiplexer

This movie will explain how you can build a simple network with 8CH CWDM Multiplexers.

Solid Optics Tutorial 06 - Basic CWDM DWDM setup

This video gives you a brief explaination of how to setup a network with cwdm/dwdm muxes.

Solid Optics Tutorial 07 - 10 must knows about cwdm

The CWDM technique combines different light sources (colors) using a passive mux over dark fiber to another location (data center). This allows you to increase bandwidth by sending multiple data streams over your dark fiber lines.

Solid Optics Tutorial 08 - Solid Optics OADM Demonstration

An overview of a Dark Fiber project representing connections between three data centers ustilizing an Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer.


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Multiplexers are also known as MUX or "Passive Mux". The technology is designed to combine multiple communication channels over one physical medium. On one end of the fiber line the communication channels are “muxed” together then transmitted over the dark fiber and "De-muxed" at the other end.

image of optical mutliplexerThis technology is of particular interest to both service providers and end users wanting to increase capacity of leased dark fiber lines at significantly lower costs than using traditional "active" equipment installations.

Solid-Optics offers world class solutions for the design and implementation of dark fiber applications with passive multiplexing and optical transceiver technology.

What do Solid Optics' multiplexers deliver?

• Increase capacity through leased dark fiber by up to 800%

• Typical 60% savings over active equipment installations

• Increased revenue from existing leased lines

• Reduced risk of costly service downtime

• Low cost of redundancy implementation & maintainence

• Zero software, zero configuration, zero updates

10 Things you need to know implementing a multiplexer solution.

Contact Solid Optics to discuss how our dark fiber solutions can increase your profitability and reduce costs. Call us at  +1 855 678 4271 for the US, or  +31 883 423 776 for all EU countries

Go straight to Solid Optics range of Multiplexers

CWDM 8 and 18 Channel MUXs

DWDM 8, 16 and 40 Channel MUXs

CWDM OADM  1 and 2 Channel MUXs

DWDM OADM 1 and 2 Channel MUXs



Types of Multiplexers

There are two different techniques used for multiplexing which have different grids or channel spacing. The first one is CWDM which ranges from 1270nm to 1610nm with 20nm steps. The maximum channels a CWDM can have is 18, Solid optics stock the 8 channel and the 18 channel. The other is DWDM where the D stands for dense. This has a typical spacing of 0.8nm and is around 1550nm, the maximum channels you can use is 80. Solid Optics stocks a variety of 8 and 16 and 40 channel muxes.

Both techniques have advantages and disadvantages. We are designing dark fiber networks every day and can advise you which technique will fit best in your project.

Passive MUX
The multiplexer does not use any power and has no software or firmware; it’s a passive device which only “filters” the correct light. The different light is emitted by the pluggable optic. So in the case of CWDM you will have 18 different colors of optics which have a specific color. In the case of DWDM this is around 48 which are used commonly in the industry. There are also tunable optics which can be programmed/tuned to send a specific light color. This is only available for DWDM.

For CWDM the nanometer or “color” of the light is commonly used as naming. There are two naming conventions, the official naming is 1611nm/1591nm/1571nm/1551nm, etc. There are a lot of Switch/Router vendors like Cisco who are using 1610nm/1590nm/1570nm/1550nm. Technically there is no difference and you can easily use a 1610 optic in a 1611 port mux. Each CWDM band is 15nm wide with the 1611nm as center.

For DWDM different naming conventions are used: The most common are the Channels of the C-Band 100Ghz. Some vendors use Thz and some prefer using nanometers. Here is a sample of this: 1550.12nm is the equivalent Channel 34.

The communication signals can have speeds from 1G, 10G, 40G and 100G. As of 2015, 1G and 10G are the most commonly used speeds and the 40G and 100G are the upcoming speeds. Because the multiplexer does not do anything with the actual signal, you can mix different speeds on the multiplexer.

Every multiplexer blocks a small percent of the signal which comes in. This is the insertion loss (IL) which is calculated in dB per channel. IL is a good indicator of the quality of the mux. The more channels the mux has the higher the IL of the mux. Typically loss of a 8 port mux is around 2dBm. Solid Optics also offers ultralow muxes.

Another important quality aspect of a mux is the Channel isolation which is the blocking of light between the channels. This should be at least 30dB - at any lower value, light from neighboring channels can interfere with one another.

Every day, Solid Optics helps our customers in advising and designing dark fiber projects. Please contact us with your details so we can help guide you to the best solution for your needs.

Picture of modular mux

Click here to view Solid Optics full range of Optical Multiplexers

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US: +1 855 678 4271
EU: +31 883 423 776

Links to Multiplexer information

List of pages in Multiplexers: