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Explore the Power of Multiplexers (MUX) – Also Referred to as Passive Mux
– Designed for Efficient Channel Integration over Fiber Optic Networks.

Maximizing Fiber Capacity with Multiplexers (MUX)

Multiplexers, commonly referred to as MUX or ‘Passive Mux,’ serve as filters designed for consolidating various communication channels over a single physical medium. At one end of the fiber line, these channels are combined through ‘Muxing’ before being transmitted over dark fiber and subsequently ‘De-muxed’ at the other end. This technology proves invaluable for both service providers and end-users seeking to boost the capacity of leased dark fiber lines. The cost-effectiveness of Multiplexers contrasts with traditional ‘active’ equipment installations, making it a preferred choice in enhancing network capacity.

Types of Multiplexers

Our expertise lies in two primary techniques for multiplexing

— Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) and Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM).

Uncover the unique features and benefits of each technique below.

CWDM Technology

DWDM Technology

Discover the versatility of Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM), denoted by the ‘C’ for Coarse. CWDM operates within the wavelength range of 1270nm to 1610nm, with 20nm steps, offering a flexible platform for up to 18 channels. Solid Optics presents an array of CWDM MUXs, including 8-channel and 18-channel models, providing tailored solutions for your specific requirements.

Dive into the intricacies of Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM), where ‘D’ signifies Dense. DWDM employs a grid with a typical spacing of 0.8nm, centered around 1550nm, enabling a robust infrastructure supporting a maximum of 96 channels. Solid Optics boasts a diverse range of DWDM MUXs, ranging from 8 to 96 channels, ensuring scalability and optimal performance for your network.

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Understanding Passive Mux

A Passive Mux stands out as a non-powered, software-free, and firmware-free device. Its brilliance lies in its ability to act as a mere filter, isolating specific wavelengths of light emitted by pluggable optics. In the  CWDM, we navigate through 18 distinct optic wavelengths, each characterized by a specific color. Meanwhile, DWDM introduces approximately 48 industry-standard channels, with the added flexibility of ‘tunable’ optics for customized light color transmission.

Navigating CWDM and DWDM Naming Conventions

Speed, Mixing, and Flexibility

Understand the critical quality metrics of Passive Muxes

 In CWDM, the nanometer or “color” is key, with dual naming conventions like 1611nm/1591nm or 1610nm/1590nm. Technically interchangeable, these optics offer flexibility within a 15nm bandwidth. DWDM adopts a different approach, with common usage of Channels in the C-Band 100Ghz Grid, where nanometers like 1550.12nm correspond to ‘Channel 34.’

Explore the diverse speeds that communication signals can achieve—ranging from 1G, 10G, 40G to 100G. Witness the evolution of technology, where 1G and 10G have been stalwarts, while 40G and 100G emerge as the latest speeds. Remarkably, a Passive Mux’s light-filtering nature allows seamless mixing of different speeds on the same platform.

‘Insertion Loss’ (IL), measured in dBs per channel, increases with channel numbers. A high-quality Mux minimizes attenuation, and Solid Optics, with its commitment to excellence, offers ultra-low loss Muxes for projects with maximum power budgets. ‘Channel Isolation’ is another pivotal quality aspect, ensuring a minimum of 30dB separation between channels to prevent interference.

Benefits of Solid Optics Multiplexers

  • Boost capacity on leased dark fiber by up to 800%
  • Enjoy a typical 60% savings compared to active equipment installations
  • Maximize revenue from existing leased lines
  • Mitigate the risk of costly service downtime
  • Implement and maintain redundancy at a low cost
  • Experience zero software, zero configuration, and zero updates hassle.


Solid-Optics offers world class solutions for the design and implementation of dark fiber applications with passive multiplexing and optical transceiver technology.

What do Solid Optics’ multiplexers deliver?

Increased capacity through leased dark fiber by up to 800%
• Typical 60% savings over active equipment installations
• Increased revenue from existing leased lines
• Reduced risk of costly service downtime
• Low cost of redundancy implementation & maintainence
• Zero software, zero configuration, zero updates

There are two different techniques used for multiplexing which have different grids or channel spacing. The first technique is CWDM, where the C stands for Coarse. CWDM ranges from 1270nm to 1610nm with 20nm steps, with a max of 18 channels. Solid Optics offers an 8 channel model and an 18 channel model. The second technique is DWDM where the D stands for Dense. The DWDM grid has a typical spacing of 0.8nm and is centered around 1550nm, with a max of 96 channels. Solid Optics offers DWDM MUXs ranging from 8, 16, 40 and 96 channels.

Both the CWDM & DWDM techniques have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The Solid Optics team are experts in designing dark fiber networks and can advise you on which technique will best fit your project.


The multiplexer does not use any power and has no software or firmware;  it’s a passive device which only “filters” the specific light emitted by the pluggable optic.  So in the case of CWDM, there are 18 different wavelengths of optics which have a specific color.  In the case of DWDM, there are about 48 channels which are commonly used in the industry.   We also offer DWDM ‘tunable’ optics, which can be programmed/tuned to send a specific light color as needed and are useful to have for spares.

For CWDM the nanometer or “color” of the light is commonly used in the naming.  There are two naming conventions – the official naming is 1611nm/1591nm/1571nm/1551nm, etc.  Many of the Switch/Router manufacturers such as Cisco use 1610nm/1590nm/1570nm/1550nm.  Technically there is no difference and you can easily use a 1610 optic in the 1611 port on a mux as each CWDM band is 15nm wide with the 1611nm as the center. For DWDM, different naming conventions are used – the most common being the Channels of the C-Band 100Ghz Grid.  Some vendors use Ghz and some prefer using nanometers.  For example, 1550.12nm is the equivalent to ‘Channel 34.’

The communication signals can have speeds ranging from 1G, 10G, 40G and 100G.  Since the introduction of this technology, 1G and 10G have been the most commonly used speeds and 40G and 100G are the newest speeds.  Since a multiplexer is simply filtering light, you can mix different speeds on the same multiplexer.

It is important to note that every multiplexer blocks a small percentage of the signal which comes through it.  This is know as the’ insertion loss’ (IL), which is calculated in dBs per channel and increases with the number of channels.  A MUX of good quality will cause less attenuation than a MUX of poor quality.  As an example, the typical loss of an 8 port mux is around 2dB.  For projects using the maximum power budget, Solid Optics offers ultra-low loss muxes.

Another important quality aspect of a mux is the ‘Channel Isolation’ which is the blocking of light between the channels, which should be at least 30dB.  At any lower value, light from neighboring channels can interfere with one another. Solid Optics has over a decade of experience in CWDM & DWDM dark fiber project design.  Please contact us with your details so we can help guide you to the best solution for your needs.

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