What is the difference between PLC Splitter and FBT Splitter?
Fiber optical splitter refers to an optical passive device that can decompose an optical signal into multiple optical signals, and can also combine multiple optical signals into one optical signal, and can realize the decomposition and aggregation of optical signals. The fiber optical splitter allows many users to share an optical fiber interface, helping users to maximize the function of the optical network circuit.
At present, fiber optical splitters on the market can be divided into two types: FBT Splitter and PLC Splitter according to the principle of light splitting. They change the evanescent field coupling between the fibers (coupling degree, coupling length) and change the fiber radius to achieve different branch amounts. On the contrary, they can also combine multiple optical signals into one signal called a combiner. The fusion taper fiber splitter is produced by traditional optical passive device manufacturers using the traditional taper coupler process, while the planar waveguide fiber splitter is produced based on optical integration technology.
Fused biconical taper（FBT Splitter）: Bundle two or more optical fibers together, melt and stretch them on a tapering machine at high temperature, and monitor the changes in the splitting ratio in real time. The melt stretching is finished when the splitting ratio reaches the requirements. One end of the fiber is reserved (the rest is cut off) as the input end, and the other end is the multiple output end. At present, the mature taper drawing process can only draw less than 1×4 at a time. Devices above 1×4 are connected together with multiple 1×2, and then packaged in a splitter box as a whole. Generally, the packaging forms of our common FBT fiber optical splitter are steel tube type, box type, multi-channel box type and so on.
Planar waveguide type (PLC Splitter): It is a micro-optical component type product that uses semiconductor technology to make optical waveguide branching devices, realize branching and distribution functions on the chip, and then couple and package the input and output channel fiber arrays at both ends of the chip. One chip can achieve splits up to 1×32 or more. The PLC splitter has the advantages of small size, wide operating wavelength range, high reliability, and good splitting uniformity. At present, there are two types of 1×N and 2×N. 1×N and 2×N splitters uniformly input optical signals from a single or double inlet to multiple outlets, or work in reverse to combine multiple optical signals. The signal is fed into a single or double optical fiber. There are many types of PLC optical fiber splitter to choose from: such as ABS box type PLC optical fiber splitter, miniature steel tube type PLC optical fiber splitter, rack type PLC optical fiber splitter, insert type PLC optical fiber splitter, etc.
The raw materials of FBT fiber optical splitter are easy to obtain, mainly made of steel, optical fiber, heat shrinkable tube and other common materials. The cost is not high, and the tapered coupler has more than 20 years of history and experience, and the technology is relatively mature. , The development cost is low, so the price of FBT fiber splitter is relatively cheap. The device manufacturing technology of PLC fiber optic splitter is complex and has a high threshold. It uses semiconductor technology for production, which greatly increases the manufacturing difficulty, so its cost is relatively high, but PLC fiber optic splitter is more cost-effective on multiple channels. The multi-channel cost is relatively low, and the cost is lower. The more the number of branches, the more obvious the advantage.
The taper splitter is low in cost and easy to manufacture, but it has problems such as a small number of one-time tapers and poor optical splitting uniformity. The optical waveguide splitter splits the light uniformly but there are problems in the manufacturing cost and process. Both have their own problems. Advantages and disadvantages, in terms of price, the cost of the two devices is almost the same at more than 1X8, and the price of the planar waveguide splitter is better with the increase of the split channel. Generally, we have to choose which device is suitable based on both the user’s needs and the application. When there are fewer branching requirements and the environment is not sensitive to volume and light wavelength, it is more appropriate to choose a taper optical splitter; If the number is large, or three networks are combined into one, FTTH and other occasions requiring multiple wavelength transmission, it is more appropriate to choose a planar waveguide splitter.