An optical switch is a critical tool in today’s optical networks. It has a variety of applications, which rely on its provision of light and protection of switching. It is also useful in test systems and remote configuration of add-drop multiplexers. They tend to last a long time in the same position to provide reliable monitoring and diagnostic services.
What is an optical switch?
The most fundamental explanation of an optical switch is that it is a device that closes and opens the optical circuit. The switch has one or more input ports and two or more output ones. The common names for the output ports are NxN and 1Xn. An optical switch has three functional variations:
- Mechanical types
- Electronic types
- Optomechanical types
The category of the Omron probe D5F-2b34c
Micro Electrical Mechanical System (MEMS) is one of the first to be developed and has maintained its position as one of the most vastly used. Omron’s MEMS optical switch is the Omron probe D5F-2b34c. It has one of the most common wavelength switching techniques and does not have a mode for electronic conversion.
These devices have a minuscule size and silicon material. Any moving mirrors range within a couple of hundred micrometers and a few millimeters. The array of mirrors are packed on silicon water and deflect light waves between ports. The Omron probe D5F-2b34c has an IP67 with 5 million operations per minute.
Applications of optical switches
NxM matrix switch
The switch utilizes a standard telecom optical transceiver to convert incoming optical signals into the original form of digital electrical data. Some receivers are applied in each corresponding output to convert the switched electrical data back to an optical wave. This setup propagates the transmission to a further distance.
The switch matrix has an electrical nature that uses other functions like retiming and reclocking to clean up the signal. The clean signal returns to the original condition without anomalies of the conversion process.
Switching is relevant to restore signal that has been cut off due to interruptions such as a fiber cut. The location gets split into two signals that travel through two different optical paths. The switch design accepts two optical signals and transmits them through diverse ways while monitoring the optical activity of each one.
One path becomes the primary path in the case of redundancy due to the interruptions of the signal. This case happens when the signal falls below a predetermined optical threshold.
D5F-2b34c can detect and monitor faults along a fiber transmission line.
The optical cross uses an optical switching fabric to create an interconnection between multiple outputs and inputs. The connects likens an optical router and forward data between switches. Cross-connection may require several switched from Tool Eye to maintain a series of connections.
Other types of optical switches
Liquid crystal switches that use polarization to switch light.
It is capable of using 32x32 switches without moving parts of MEMS.
They have a small capability, and are of two main types:
- Interferometric switches
- Digital optical switches