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What is a Fiber Optic Link Budget?

Neglecting your fiber optic link budget can result in costly damage and inconvenient complications for your business. Primarily, a link budget helps you calculate the maximum allowable loss between two fiber transceivers. But it also offers insight into situations where your fiber optics cabling network may have too much power. To properly calculate your fiber optic link budget it’s important to first understand some basic concepts associated with the maintenance of fiber optics installation in Phoenix:

1. Installation Loss:

Also known as DC loss, this refers to optical losses caused by fiber optics cabling plant. These losses can be broken down into three categories:

  • Transmission Loss – Considered the most important property of an optical fiber, transmission loss happens when there’s material absorption and linear and nonlinear light dispersion from impurities in the fiber. Attenuation increase is also attributed to macrobending and microbending mechanisms.

For single mode fiber, the average loss is approximately 2.5dB/km @850nm, 0.5dB/km @1300nm and 0.25dB/km @1550nm. Multimode fiber loss is slightly higher.

  • Attenuation vs. Wavelength – Since optical wavelength affects loss in fiber optics cabling, wavelength changes within the light source- or a spectrum of wavelengths in the source- will result in additional losses.

For laser sources on single mode fiber, the usual loss due to wavelength-dependent attenuation is around 0.1dB/km.

  • Splice and Connector Losses – Improper configuration of fiber cores, offset of fibers on either side of the connector, and  the angular misalignment of fibers will all contribute connector losses.

For single mode connectors, the average loss is approximately 0.3dB; it’s around 0.5dB for multimode connectors.

In addition, mechanical splice and fusion splice each introduce power losses. For mechanical splices, the average loss is 0.4dB; it’s about 0.1-0.2dB for fusion splices.

2. AC losses

This refers to a wide variety of losses brought on by optical noise sources on the link: multi-path interference, modal dispersion, chromatic dispersion, mode hopping, extinction ratio, mode partition noise, timing jitter, and so on.

As fiber optics cabling and structured cabling experts in Phoenix, and Tucson, we at CTS are committed to providing advanced, innovative, and reliable telecommunications solutions. Our technicians use the latest materials and techniques to ensure you get long-lasting products that accurately suit your needs. We also offer warranties on our structured cabling services in Phoenix that range from15 years to life.

If you have any questions about fiber optic link budgets, or about any of our fiber optics or structured cabling services in Tucson or Phoenix, call us at 877-685-2626 or contact us online.

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