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What is the difference between BiDi and SWDM4?
Knowledge Base + 2024.01.10

Both BiDi (Bidirectional) and SWDM4 (Short Wavelength Division Multiplexing 4) are technologies used in optical communication, specifically in the context of multimode fiber (MMF) for data transmission. However, they achieve bidirectional communication in different ways. 

BiDi (Bidirectional):

  • BiDi technology uses a single optical fiber for both transmit and receive directions. It relies on different wavelengths for upstream and downstream communication.

  • In a BiDi system, one wavelength is used for transmitting data from one end, and another wavelength is used for receiving data at the other end.

  • Common BiDi configurations include 10GBASE-BX (for 10 Gbps) and 100GBASE-BX (for 100 Gbps).

SWDM4 (Short Wavelength Division Multiplexing 4):

  • SWDM4 technology, on the other hand, utilizes multiple wavelengths over a single fiber for bidirectional communication. It is typically used in the context of multimode fiber.

  • SWDM4 specifically refers to four separate wavelengths used for transmitting and receiving data in both directions. Each wavelength represents a separate channel.

  • SWDM4 is often used for higher-speed applications, such as 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps, over multimode fiber.

Key Differences:

  • Fiber Type: BiDi can be used with both single-mode and multimode fiber, while SWDM4 is specifically designed for multimode fiber.

  • Wavelengths: BiDi uses different wavelengths for transmit and receive over a single fiber, whereas SWDM4 uses multiple wavelengths (four in the case of SWDM4) for bidirectional communication over a single fiber.

  • Applications: BiDi is commonly used in both single-mode and multimode environments, while SWDM4 is typically associated with higher-speed multimode applications.

Both BiDi and SWDM4 offer advantages in terms of optimizing fiber usage and simplifying cabling infrastructure, but the choice between them depends on factors such as the specific application, data rate requirements, and the type of optical fiber being used.