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How to Use Transponders for Wavelength Conversion

Copper-to-fiber and fiber-to-fiber media converters are capable of wavelength conversion by using Small Form Pluggable (SFP) transceivers that transmit different wavelengths. SFP transceivers provide a convenient and flexible method of adapting to different equipment requirements.

For applications involving Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM), copper-to-fiber converters can convert a copper interface to a specific WDM wavelength. Fiber-to-fiber converters provide a cost-effective solution to convert from standard optical wavelengths (850nm, 1310nm and 1550nm) of legacy equipment to optical wavelengths specified for WDM networks. Fiber-to-fiber wavelength converters are also known as transponders. Transponders are protocol transparent and can support Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI), Fibre Channel and Ethernet data rates.

WDM technology provides the flexibility to increase the capacity of existing fiber infrastructure, eliminating the need to lay new fiber at full capacity locations. Bandwidth is increased because each wavelength carries data independently from the others, allowing network designers to mix and match speeds (10Mpbs up to 10Gbps) and protocols (T1, T3, OC-3, OC-12, Ethernet, etc) over the same fiber link.

In this application example, an Enterprise network requires multiple devices and network protocols to be connected across a campus to another building. The challenge is that only one fiber link is available between the buildings. Utilizing media converters with SFPs and two WDM multiplexers (MUX), three wavelengths are sent over the same fiber link.

There is an Ethernet Gigabit fiber switch, a 10/100 UTP Ethernet Switch and a DS3 Multiplexer at the network core. The fiber switch link is converted from 1310nm to 1570nm fiber, the Ethernet UTP switch link is converted from copper to 1590nm fiber, and the DS3 Multiplexer link is converted from DS3 copper to 1610nm fiber. All three wavelengths are combined (multiplexed) into the WDM common fiber link.

At the other end of the WDM fiber link, the MUX filters out each of the wavelengths and provides connectivity to individual fiber links. At each link, a media converter with the appropriate wavelength SFP converts the fiber to back to copper. The two Ethernet links are connected to workgroup switches, and the DS3 link is connected to a PBX.

 CWDM Transponder diagram



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