How to Calculate Splitter Loss in Optical Fiber

Calculating splitter loss in optical fibers is essential for designing efficient optical networks. Understanding the types of splitters, their impact on network performance, and how to measure their losses ensures high-quality network operation and facilitates optimal splitter selection based on specific network requirements.
splitter loss
Table of Contents

What is Fiber Optic Splitter

In modern optical network topologies, fiber optic splitters play a crucial role by maximizing the performance of optical circuits.

These splitters are integral in passive optical networks like EPON, GPON, BPON, FTTX, and FTTH, allowing multiple users to share a single PON interface.

Fiber optic splitters generally consist of an input port and several output ports and are categorized into two types based on their operating principles: coupling type and beam splitter type.

Coupling-type splitters use optical couplers to divide optical signals, while beam splitters employ reflection and refraction within optical fibers.

Understanding Fiber Loss Specifications of Splitters

Splitter loss refers to the optical power lost when a signal is divided into multiple channels.

This loss is primarily quantified as insertion loss, which measures the reduction in signal power due to the splitter’s presence in the optical path.

Factors influencing splitter loss include splitter type, the number of splitters, and component quality.

Insertion loss can vary from a few decibels to around 20 decibels, with recent advancements leading to lower-loss PLC splitters.

When selecting an optical splitter, it is vital to balance insertion loss, cost, and specific application requirements to ensure network stability and transmission quality.

splitter loss in fiber optic
splitter loss in fiber optic

Bare Fiber Calculation Formula

To calculate the power requirements for each optical link, you can use the formula:

ki = Pi / SP * 100%


  • Pi is the driving power needed for each optical link.
  • SP is the total driving power required by all optical links carried by the laser.

Manufacturers often provide splitting ratios, such as 80%:20% for a 1/2 split or 70%:15%:15% for a 1/3 split, which should be considered in the calculations.

Bare PLC Splitter

How to Test Optical Splitter Loss

To accurately measure optical splitter loss, utilize optical test equipment like power meters and spectral analyzers. Here’s how:

  1. Using an Optical Power Meter:
    • Measure the optical power at both the input and output ports of the splitter.
    • Calculate the loss by comparing these two readings, which reflects the splitter’s insertion loss.
  2. Using a Spectral Analyzer:
    • Analyze the transmission loss across different wavelengths to determine the splitter’s performance with varying optical signals.
    • This method helps in understanding how different wavelengths are affected by the splitter.

In practice, installing optical power meters at the input and output ports and recording the readings provides a straightforward method to assess the insertion loss of the splitter.

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