The Taxonomy of Transceivers, Revisited (Part 2)

In this week’s article, we conclude our look at how the key features of optical transceivers have evolved since we first addressed the subject way back in 2012.

A Lasting Taxonomy (Part 2)

Last week, we observed that while we discussed how form factor, data rate, protocol, and rated distance requirements have changed over the past near decade in response to increasing bandwidth needs. This week, we will look at the last few attributes: fiber type, connectors, wavelengths, and operating temperature.

Intended Fiber Type. There are two general types of fiber used with optical transceivers: multimode fiber for short-haul connections (typically under 1km) and single mode fiber for longer reaches. New multimode fiber standards, such as OM4 and OM5, have emerged to support higher data rates. These multimode fibers also have new terminating connectors, as explained below.

Connector Type and Amount. Transceivers still typically have 1 or 2 connectors (for dual and single fiber transceivers, respectively). However, the types of connectors have subtly changed in many cases. While LC connectors are still the dominant type of connector in use (especially for longer-range optics), MPO connectors have become the standard for short-haul optics and multimode fiber. In order to achieve the highest data rates, MPO connectors for 400G optics can have as many as 24 connections within one MPO!

Wavelength. The wavelengths available for transceivers have not changed significantly, beyond the established windows of 850nm, 1310nm, 1550nm, the CWDM and DWDM spectra, etc. However, the way they’re used (particularly the WDM spectrum) has changed in order to achieve higher data rates. For example, 100G transceivers typically utilize internal WDM mux/demux technology inside the transceiver to achieve 4 lanes of 25G for an aggregate data rate of 100G.

Additionally, new wavelength ranges have emerged in the FTTx space, with the advent of next-generation PON technologies like XGS-PON and NGPON2. This enables network operators to deploy these higher speeds over their existing PON network infrastructure.

Operating Temperature. Of all the key transceiver features, this has changed the least over the past decade. Transceivers are generally still available in C-temp (0 to 70C) and I-temp (-40 to 85C) operating temperature ranges.

For more information on optical transceivers, stay tuned to our blog, or contact Champion ONE today.

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