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Calculating Power Budget and Power Margin for Fiber-Optic Cables

 

Use the information in this topic and the specifications for your optical interface to calculate the power budget and power margin for fiber-optic cables.

Tip

You can use the Hardware Compatibility Tool to find information about the pluggable transceivers supported on your Juniper Networks device.

To calculate the power budget and power margin, perform the following tasks:

How to Calculate Power Budget for Fiber-Optic Cable

To ensure that fiber-optic connections have sufficient power for correct operation, you need to calculate the link's power budget, which is the maximum amount of power it can transmit. When you calculate the power budget, you use a worst-case analysis to provide a margin of error, even though all the parts of an actual system do not operate at the worst-case levels. To calculate the worst-case estimate of power budget (PB), you assume minimum transmitter power (PT) and minimum receiver sensitivity (PR):

PB = PT – PR

The following hypothetical power budget equation uses values measured in decibels (dB) and decibels referred to one milliwatt (dBm):

PB = PT – PR

PB = –15 dBm – (–28 dBm)

PB = 13 dB

How to Calculate Power Margin for Fiber-Optic Cable

After calculating a link's power budget, you can calculate the power margin (PM), which represents the amount of power available after subtracting attenuation or link loss (LL) from the power budget (PB). A worst-case estimate of PM assumes maximum LL:

PM = PB – LL

PM greater than zero indicates that the power budget is sufficient to operate the receiver.

Factors that can cause link loss include higher-order mode losses, modal and chromatic dispersion, connectors, splices, and fiber attenuation. Table 1 lists an estimated amount of loss for the factors used in the following sample calculations. For information about the actual amount of signal loss caused by equipment and other factors, refer to vendor documentation.

Link-Loss Factor

Estimated Link-Loss Value

Higher-order mode losses

Single mode—None

Multimode—0.5 dB

Modal and chromatic dispersion

Single mode—None

Multimode—None, if product of bandwidth and distance is less than 500 MHz-km

Connector

0.5 dB

Splice

0.5 dB

Fiber attenuation

Single mode—0.5 dB/km

Multimode—1 dB/km

The following sample calculation for a 2-km-long multimode link with a power budget (PB) of 13 dB uses the estimated values from Table 1 to calculate link loss (LL) as the sum of fiber attenuation (2 km @ 1 dB/km, or 2 dB) and loss for five connectors (0.5 dB per connector, or 2.5 dB) and two splices (0.5 dB per splice, or 1 dB) as well as higher-order mode losses (0.5 dB). The power margin (PM) is calculated as follows:

PM = PB – LL

PM = 13 dB – 2 km (1 dB/km) – 5 (0.5 dB) – 2 (0.5 dB) – 0.5 dB

PM = 13 dB – 2 dB – 2.5 dB – 1 dB – 0.5 dB

PM = 7 dB

The following sample calculation for an 8-km-long single-mode link with a power budget (PB) of 13 dB uses the estimated values from Table 1 to calculate link loss (LL) as the sum of fiber attenuation (8 km @ 0.5 dB/km, or 4 dB) and loss for seven connectors (0.5 dB per connector, or 3.5 dB). The power margin (PM) is calculated as follows:

PM = PB – LL

PM = 13 dB – 8 km (0.5 dB/km) – 7(0.5 dB)

PM = 13 dB – 4 dB – 3.5 dB

PM = 5.5 dB

In both examples, the calculated power margin is greater than zero, indicating that the link has sufficient power for transmission and does not exceed the maximum receiver input power.