With the rise of 5G technologies and massive deployment of 5G base stations, wireless access of terminals with high speed and large capacity is realized. Meanwhile, the traffic in optical fiber network increases rapidly. It is predicted that the current optical fiber network will become the bottleneck of information exchange in the future 12-18 months. The upgrading of optical fiber network is urgent. The representative trend is that the technologies for long-haul network (LHN) will be sunk to metropolitan area network (MAN), including DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing), ROADM (Reconfigurable Optical Add-Drop Multiplexer) and coherent receiving techniques. This paper discusses some of the passive optical devices for the coming 5G applications.
1. CDC ROADM Based on MCS
The demand for increasing bandwidth promotes the upgrading of all-optical network (AON). As key parts of AON, the market of ROADM and related passive optical devices is expected to grow rapidly. In the nodes of optical fiber network, any wavelengths can be downloaded/uploaded via ROADMs. With the rapid growth of Internet traffic, the traditional ROADM nodes can’t meet the requirements. The new generation of ROADMs are required to be colorless, directionless and contentionless (CDC ROADM).
With the rapid development of optical fiber, the traditional communication devices with electricity as the core is hardly to meet the needs of high-speed and large-capacity optical communication network. MEMS optical switch has become one of the important devices in all optical communication network due to its small size, easy integration and large capacity.
MEMS optical switch is based on Micro-Electro-Mechanical System(MEMS) technology, using the micromirrors to control and switch the optical path. Its function is shown in the following figure:
Optical switches are widely employed in optical fiber communication systems. The approaches for an optical switch are variable, including mechanical optical switch, thermos-optic switch, acousto-optic switch, electro-optic switch, magneto-optic switch, liquid crystal optical switch, MEMS optical switch, et. al. MEMS optical switches are characterized by compact size, low power consumption and good scalability, which enable their wide applications.
Optical switch is a multiport device. The port configurations include 2×2, 1×N, N×N. Optical switch with N×N ports is usually called OXC (optical cross connect). According to the difference in port configurations, different MEMS chips are employed for realization of the devices. We will discuss optical switches with 2×2 and 1×N ports in this paper.