The OADM, short for optical add drop multiplexer, is one of the key components for dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) and ultra wide wavelength division multiplexing (UW-WDM) optical networks. OADM technology is used to cost effectively access part of the bandwidth in the optical domain being passed through the in-line amplifiers with minimum amount of electronics.
An OADM can be considered as a specific type of optical cross-connect, widely used in wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) systems for multiplexing and routing fiber optic signals. They selectively add and drop individual or sets of wavelength channels from a dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) multi-channel stream. OADMs are used to cost effectively access part of the bandwidth in the optical domain being passed through the in-line amplifiers with the minimum amount of electronics.
OADMs have passive and active modes depending on the wavelength. In passive OADM, the add and drop wavelengths are fixed beforehand while in dynamic mode, OADM can be set to any wavelength after installation. Passive OADM uses WDM filter, fiber gratings, and planar waveguides in networks with WDM systems. Dynamic OADM can select any wavelength by provisioning on demand without changing its physical configuration. It is also less expensive and more flexible than passive OADM. Dynamic OADM is separated into two generations.
A typical OADM consists of three stages: an optical demultiplexer, an optical multiplexer, and between them a method of reconfiguring the paths between the optical demultiplexer, the optical multiplexer and a set of ports for adding and dropping signals. The MUX multiplexes the wavelength channels that are to continue on from DEMUX ports with those from the add ports, onto a single output fiber, while the DEMUX separates wavelengths in an input fiber onto ports. The reconfiguration can be achieved by a fiber patch panel or by optical switches which direct the wavelengths to the MUX or to drop ports. All the light paths that directly pass an OADM are termed cut-through lightpaths, while those that are added or dropped at the OADM node are termed added/dropped lightpaths.
OADM works as follows: the WDM signals from line containing N wavelength channels enter the OADM “Main Input” side, depending on your business needs, from N wavelength channel, selectively from the road-side (Drop) required by the output wavelength channel, accordingly from the road-end (Add) enter the desired wavelength channel. Regardless of other local wavelength channel directly through the OADM, and routing wavelength channels multiplexed together, from the output terminals of the circuit of OADM (Main Output) output. The following picture shows the basic operation of an OADM.
Physically, there are several ways to realize an OADM. There are a variety of demultiplexer and multiplexer technologies including thin film filters, fiber Bragg gratings with optical circulators, free space grating devices and integrated planar arrayed waveguide gratings. The switching or reconfiguration functions range from the manual fiber patch panel to a variety of switching technologies including microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), liquid crystal and thermo-optic switches in planar waveguide circuits.
CWDM and DWDM OADM provide data access for intermediate network devices along a shared optical media network path. Regardless of the network topology, OADM access points allow design flexibility to communicate to locations along the fiber path. CWDM OADM provides the ability to add or drop a single wavelength or multi-wavelengths from a fully multiplexed optical signal. This permits intermediate locations between remote sites to access the common, point-to-point fiber message linking them. Wavelengths not dropped, pass-through the OADM and keep on in the direction of the remote site. Additional selected wavelengths can be added or dropped by successive OADMS as needed.
FS.COM provides a wide selection of specialized OADMs for WDM system. Custom WDM solutions are also available for applications beyond the current product designs including mixed combinations of CWDM and DWDM.