Highly Reliable PON Optical Splitters for Optical Access Networks in Outside Environments

Hiroshi WATANABE  Noriyuki ARAKI  Hisashi FUJIMOTO  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E93-C   No.7   pp.1180-1190
Publication Date: 2010/07/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E93.C.1180
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Photonic Technologies for Access Networks)
optical splitter,  reliability,  outside environment,  PON,  PLC,  

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Broadband optical access services are spreading throughout the world, and the number of fiber to the home (FTTH) subscribers is increasing rapidly. Telecom operators are constructing passive optical networks (PONs) to provide optical access services. Externally installed optical splitters for PONs are very important passive devices in optical access networks, and they must provide satisfactory performance as outdoor plant over long periods. Therefore, we calculate the failure rate of optical access networks and assign a failure rate to the optical splitters in optical access networks. The maximum cumulative failure rate of 18 optical splitters was calculated as 0.025 for an optical access fiber length of 2.1 km and a 20-year operating lifetime. We examined planar lightwave circuit (PLC) type optical splitters for use as outside plant in terms of their optical characteristics and environmental reliability. We confirmed that PLC type optical splitters have sufficient optical performance for a PON splitter and sufficient reliability as outside plant in accordance with ITU-T standard values. We estimated the lifetimes of three kinds of PLC type optical splitters by using accelerated aging tests. The estimated failure rate of these splitters installed in optical access networks was below the target value for the cumulative failure rate, and we confirmed that they have sufficient reliability to maintain the quality of the network service. We developed 18 optical splitter modules with plug and socket type optical connectors and optical fiber cords for optical aerial closures designed for use as outside plant. These technologies make it easy to install optical splitters in an aerial optical closure. The optical splitter modules have sufficient optical performance levels for PONs because the insertion loss at the commercially used wavelengths of 1.31 and 1.55 µm is less than the criterion established by ITU-T Recommendation G.671 for optical splitters. We performed a temperature cycling test, and a low temperature storage and damp heat test to confirm the long-term reliability of these modules. They exhibited sufficient reliability as regards heat and moisture because the maximum loss change was less than 0.3 dB.