The various IOCs supported on the services gateway accept different kinds of network cable, including multimode and single-mode fiber-optic cable. For more information, see the following sections:

- Signal Loss in Multimode and Single-Mode Fiber-Optic Cable
- Attenuation and Dispersion in Fiber-Optic Cable
- Calculating Power Budget for Fiber-Optic Cable
- Calculating Power Margin for Fiber-Optic Cable

Multimode fiber is large enough in diameter to allow rays of light to reflect internally (bounce off the walls of the fiber). Interfaces with multimode optics typically use LEDs as light sources. LEDs are not coherent sources, however. They spray varying wavelengths of light into the multimode fiber, which reflects the light at different angles. Light rays travel in jagged lines through a multimode fiber, causing signal dispersion. When light traveling in the fiber core radiates into the fiber cladding, higher-order mode loss (HOL) results. Together these factors limit the transmission distance of multimode fiber compared to single-mode fiber.

Single-mode fiber is so small in diameter that rays of light can reflect internally through one layer only. Interfaces with single-mode optics use lasers as light sources. Lasers generate a single wavelength of light, which travels in a straight line through the single-mode fiber. Compared with multimode fiber, single-mode fiber has higher bandwidth and can carry signals for longer distances. It is consequently more expensive.

Correct functioning of an optical data link depends on modulated
light reaching the receiver with enough power to be demodulated correctly. *Attenuation* is the reduction in power of the light signal
as it is transmitted. Attenuation is caused by passive media components,
such as cables, cable splices, and connectors. While attenuation is
significantly lower for optical fiber than for other media, it still
occurs in both multimode and single-mode transmission. An efficient
optical data link must have enough light available to overcome attenuation.

*Dispersion *is the spreading of the signal
in time. The following two types of dispersion can affect an optical
data link:

- Chromatic dispersion—The spreading of the signal in time resulting from the different speeds of light rays.
- Modal dispersion—The spreading of the signal in time resulting from the different propagation modes in the fiber.

For multimode transmission, modal dispersion, rather than chromatic dispersion or attenuation, usually limits the maximum bit rate and link length. For single-mode transmission, modal dispersion is not a factor. However, at higher bit rates and over longer distances, chromatic dispersion rather than modal dispersion limits maximum link length.

An efficient optical data link must have enough light to exceed the minimum power that the receiver requires to operate within its specifications. In addition, the total dispersion must be less than the limits specified for the type of link in Telcordia Technologies document GR-253-CORE (Section 4.3) and International Telecommunications Union (ITU) document G.957.

When chromatic dispersion is at the maximum allowed, its effect can be considered as a power penalty in the power budget. The optical power budget must allow for the sum of component attenuation, power penalties (including those from dispersion), and a safety margin for unexpected losses. For more information about power budget, see Calculating 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 (P_{B}), you assume minimum
transmitter power (P_{T}) and minimum
receiver sensitivity (P_{R}):

P_{B} = P_{T} –
P_{R}

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

P_{B} = P_{T }–
P_{R}

P_{B} = –15 dBm – (–28
dBm)

P_{B} = 13 dB

After calculating a link's power budget (using the equation
described in Calculating Power Budget for Fiber-Optic Cable), you
can calculate the power margin (P_{M}), which represents the amount of power available after subtracting
attenuation or link loss (LL) from the power budget (P_{B}). A worst-case estimate of P_{M} assumes maximum LL:

P_{M} = P_{B} –
LL

A P_{M} 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 40 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.

Table 40: Estimated Values for Factors Causing Link Loss

The following example uses the estimated values in Table 40 to calculate link loss (LL) for a 2 km-long multimode link with a power budget
(P_{B}) of 13 dB:

- Fiber attenuation for 2 km @ 1.0 dB/km= 2 dB
- Loss for five connectors @ 0.5 dB per connector = 5(0.5 dB) = 2.5 dB
- Loss for two splices @ 0.5 dB per splice =2(0.5 dB) = 1 dB
- Higher-order loss = 0.5 dB
- Clock recovery module = 1 dB

The power margin (P_{M}) is calculated
as follows:

P_{M} = P_{B} –
LL

P_{M} = 13 dB – 2 km (1.0 dB/km)
– 5 (0.5 dB) – 2 (0.5 dB) – 0.5 dB [HOL] –
1 dB [CRM]

P_{M} = 13 dB – 2 dB – 2.5
dB – 1 dB – 0.5 dB – 1 dB

P_{M} = 6 dB

The following sample calculation for an 8 km-long single-mode
link with a power budget (P_{B}) of 13 dB
uses the estimated values from Table 40 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 (P_{M}) is calculated as follows:

P_{M} = P_{B} –
LL

P_{M} = 13 dB – 8 km (0.5 dB/km)
– 7 (0.5 dB)

P_{M} = 13 dB – 4 dB – 3.5
dB

P_{M} = 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.

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