Service For You With All Sincerity

How to Understand the Performance Parameters of Optical Modules?
Knowledge Base + 2024.02.19

The optical module is a core component in optical fiber communication systems, and its performance parameters directly impact the transmission rate, stability, and reliability of the entire system. This article will analyze key performance parameters such as transmission rate, wavelength, numerical aperture (NA), output power, and receive sensitivity of optical modules. It will also discuss how to choose suitable optical modules based on practical requirements.

Transmission rate is one of the crucial indicators for measuring the performance of optical modules. The transmission rate of an optical module depends on the performance of the optical chip, which is influenced by cost factors such as indium phosphide chips and components. According to relevant predictions, indium phosphide devices are expected to reach an downstream application scale of about $5.2 billion by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate of 16% from 2020 to 2026. The transmission rate range of optical modules covers low speed, 100Mbps, 1Gbps, 2.5Gbps, 4.25Gbps, 4.9Gbps, 6Gbps, 8Gbps, 10Gbps, 12Gbps, 16Gbps, 25Gbps, 40Gbps, 100Gbps, 200Gbps, 400Gbps, and 800Gbps, among others. For example, the Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) transceiver typically has a transmission rate of 10Gbps, suitable for various applications such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, SONET/SDH, and fiber channel.

Wavelength is another crucial performance parameter of optical modules. The wavelength of an optical module determines the transmission characteristics of the optical signal in the fiber. Common wavelengths include 850nm, 1310nm, and 1550nm. Optical modules with different wavelengths are suitable for different types of fibers and application scenarios. For instance, an optical module with a wavelength of 1310nm is suitable for single-mode fiber, offering longer transmission distances, while an 850nm wavelength is suitable for multi-mode fiber, providing shorter transmission distances. In practical applications, choosing the appropriate wavelength is essential based on the type of fiber and transmission distance requirements.

Numerical aperture (NA) is another important performance parameter of light, influencing the coupling efficiency and connection quality between the optical module and the fiber. A larger numerical aperture results in higher coupling efficiency and lower signal transmission loss. However, increasing the numerical aperture also leads to larger module sizes and higher costs. Therefore, a balance needs to be struck between coupling efficiency and cost. Generally, numerical apertures between 0.2 and 0.4 are common.

Output power and receive sensitivity are direct indicators of the performance of optical modules in practical applications. Higher output power indicates stronger signal transmission capabilities and longer transmission distances, while higher receive sensitivity enhances the module's ability to detect weak light signals, improving the system's interference resistance. When selecting optical modules, it is crucial to consider both output power and receive sensitivity based on specific application scenarios and transmission distance requirements. For example, for long-distance transmission applications, high output power and low receive sensitivity optical modules are preferred, while for short-distance transmission scenarios, adjusting output power and increasing receive sensitivity may be suitable.

Choosing the right optical module based on practical requirements involves a comprehensive consideration of the above performance parameters and other factors such as operating temperature range, power consumption, and size. In applications such as data centers, 4G/5G mobile communication networks, and fiber access, high-performance, reliable, and low-power optical modules are essential. Reference to products from well-known domestic and international manufacturers like Finisar, Huawei, ZTE, and Walsun can be helpful. These manufacturers have extensive technical expertise and experience in the field of optical modules, providing high-performance and reliable products.

The performance parameters of optical modules are important indicators for evaluating their performance. Parameters such as transmission rate, wavelength, numerical aperture, output power, and receive sensitivity directly impact the application effectiveness of optical modules in optical fiber communication systems. When selecting optical modules, it is crucial to consider performance parameters and other factors in a comprehensive manner, choosing the most suitable optical module products for specific application scenarios and transmission distance requirements.

Additional Learning Hub Resources

40G QSFP+ Optical Module Interfaces

100G SR4 Optical Module vs 40G SR4 Optical Module 

How about the 40G QSFP+ optical module? 

What are the common models of QSFP+ optical modules?