What you need to know before you purchase Fiber Optic Attenuators

Posted on by FS.COM

So why do We Need a Fiber Optic Attenuator?

Bigger is much better, right? Or so many people believe. Beginners in fiber optic technology are often confused with why optic attenuators should reduce light intensity. Aren’t we using amplifiers to improve the signal electricity? The fact is that too much light can overload a fiber optic receiver. Optical fiber attenuators are needed when a transmitter delivers too much light, such as when a transmitter is very close to the receiver.

So how exactly does a Fiber Attenuator Work?

Attenuators usually works by absorbing the sunshine, such as a neutral density thin film filter. Or by scattering the sunshine such as an air gap. They should not reflect the light since that could cause unwanted back reflection within the fiber system. Another type of attenuator utilizes a length of high-loss optical fiber, that operates upon its input optical signal power level in such a way that it is output signal power level is less than the input level. The power reduction are done by such means as absorption, reflection, diffusion, scattering, deflection, diffraction, and dispersion, etc.

What’s the Most Important Feature Should a Fiber Attenuator Have?

The most crucial spec of an attenuator is its attenuation versus wavelength curve. Attenuators should have the same impact on all wavelengths used in the fiber system or at least as flat as possible. For instance, a 3dB attenuator at 1500nm should also lessen the concentration of light at 1550nm by 3dB or as close as possible, this is also true inside a WDM (Wavelength Division Multiplexing) system.

Different Types of Attenuators

There are two functional kinds of fiber attenuators: plug style (including bulkhead) and in-line. A plug style attenuator is utilized like a male-female connector where attenuation occurs inside the device, that’s, on the light path from one ferrule to another. Included in this are FC fiber optic attenuator, LC attenuator, SC attenuator, ST attenuator and much more. An in-line attenuator is connected to a transmission fiber by splicing its two pigtails.

The key of operation of attenuators are markedly different simply because they use various phenomena to lower the power of the propagating light. The easiest means would be to bend a fiber. Coil an area cable several times around a pencil while measuring the attenuation with a power meter, then tape this coil. Then you definitely got a primitive but working attenuator.

Most attenuators have fixed values which are specified by decibels (dB). They’re called fiber optic fixed attenuator. For instance, a -3dB attenuator should reduce intensity of the output by 3dB. Manufacturers use various light-absorbing material to attain well-controlled and stable attenuation. For instance, a fiber doped with a transition metal that absorbs light in a predictable way and disperses absorbed energy as a heat.

Variable optical attenuator is also available, but it is usually a precision instrument utilized in making measurements. From FiberStore, you can get the best Variable Attenuators Instrument.

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