OADM is a cost-effective and easy to use passive fiber optic component, which can provide easy to build and grow connectivity environment for WDM network.Optical add-drop multiplexer is one of the key devices to implement such optical signal processing. Use of OADM makes it possible to freely add or drop signals with arbitrary wavelengths over multiplexed optical signals by assigning a wavelength to each destination.
Inside an OADM
A traditional OADM consists of three parts: an optical demultiplexer, an optical multiplexer and between them a method of reconfiguring the paths between the optical demultiplexer, the optical multiplexer and a set of ports for adding and dropping signals. The multiplexer is used to couple two or more wavelengths into the same fiber. Then the reconfiguration can be achieved by a fiber patch panel or by optical switches which direct the wavelengths to the optical multiplexer or to drop ports. The demultiplexer undoes what the multiplexer has done. It separates a multiplicity of wavelengths in a fiber and directs them to many fibers.
Main Function and Principle of OADM
For an OADM, “Add” refers to the capability of the device to add one or more new wavelength channels to an existing multi-wavelength WDM signal while “drop” refers to drop or remove one or more channels, passing those signals to another network path. The OADM selectively removes (drops) a wavelength from a multiplicity of wavelengths in a fiber, and thus from traffic on the particular channel. It then adds in the same direction of data flow the same wavelength, but with different data content. The main function of OADM function is shown in the following picture. This function is especially used in WDM ring systems as well as in long-haul with drop-add features.
How to Connect OADM With WDM MUX/DEMUX
In most cases, OADM is deployed with CWDM or DWDM MUX/DEMUX. It is usually installed in a fiber optic link between two WDM MUX/DEMUXs. The following picture shows a CWDM network using a 1-channel dual fiber OADM between two CWDM MUX/DEMUXs. Signals over 1470 nm are required to be added to and dropped from the dual fiber link. On the OADM, there are usually one port for input and one port for output. The OADM can be regarded as a length of fiber cable in the fiber link. The point is the one or more strand of signals is added or dropped when the light goes through the OADM.