The simplest way to create a Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) network is using an embedded WDM solution. In an embedded solution, a CWDM or DWDM transceiver is connected directly into a SAN or IP switch. Each signal that comes from the different transceivers is then connected to a multiplexer, which gathers them together and transports them over a single optical fiber link.

The recipe for data connectivity using a WDM system requires four main ingredients: dark fiber, an optical transceiver, a multiplexer, and a patch cord connecting the transceiver and the multiplexer. With only these components, an embedded WDM solution is as simple as connecting a single channel transceiver to a data switch to connect it to another switch via a line fiber. And it’s as easy to implement and manage.


As we have seen, while the single-channel approach requires access to a new fiber for each and every service you want to connect, the WDM solution allows you to transport multiple traffic signals over the same fiber, increasing the utilization of that fiber.

In this way, embedded WDM offers a simple, easy to manage and cost-efficient solution for transporting large amounts of data over short- to mid-range distances – typically up to 80 kilometers – with the ability to transport up to 80 individual traffic channels over a dark fiber network. This is pretty much the same capacity as an active transponder-based DWDM platform, but in a much simpler way. In most cases, transponder-based solutions are engineered for telecom-grade networks and have features simply not required for data center interconnect for enterprises. They tend to be inherently complicated and can be overly expensive for enterprise or metro use.

Since no additional power is required for the embedded components, the solutions are also preferred for creating green data centers. You can add new services quickly and conveniently just by adding the required number of optical transceivers.

Read more about how embedded DWDM compares with transponder-based active DWDM and single-channel ELWL solutions.

Create an embedded WDM network in three easy steps

Thanks to the simplicity of an embedded WDM solution, anyone familiar with using data switches and handling standard transceivers can now build an embedded CWDM or DWDM network.

Step 1. Simply insert the CWDM or DWDM transceiver into the data switch at both sites in the network. Make sure that the same wavelength is used at each site.


Step 2. Connect the transceivers to the mux/demux

A6_3-Embedded-transceivers-to-muxdemux (1)

Make sure that the transceiver wavelengths are connected to the corresponding channel port on the mux/demux module.


Up to 16 CWDM channels or the typical 40 or 80 DWDM channels.

Step 3. Connect the dark fiber to the mux/demuxes at both ends of the system, i.e. both sites.


And voilà! You’ve just established an WDM connection between the two sites.

Explaining this article to a non-technical person:

An embedded transceiver in a Coarse or Dense WDM (CWDM or DWDM) system can be connected directly into an Ethernet or Fibre Channel switch. It contains fewer components than a traditional DWDM platform and provides simple, cost-effective data connectivity.

If you understand how to use standard transceivers in a data switch, it’s easy to create an embedded WDM network. There are three basic steps: connecting the CWDM or DWDM transceiver to the data switch, connecting the transceiver to the mux/demux, and connecting the mux/demuxes together using the dark fiber between the data centers.

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