WDM (Wave Division Multiplexing)

It’s estimated that 90% of the data in existence today was created in the past 2 years and approximately 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily. That’s a lot of data. Naturally, this ginormous (it’s now a legit word, you can check) data growth puts tremendous demands on network bandwidth. Having to meet this ever-increasing demand by installing additional fiber optics would be cost and time prohibitive. Enter Wave Division Multiplexing (WDM).

WDM works on the principle that photons, or particles of light, don’t interact with, or affect, each other. Because light is carried through fiber optics and the rate at which it pulsates is what distinguishes the 1’s and 0’s it’s transmitting, WDM handles the need for more bandwidth by simply sending different wavelengths, or colors, of light. These wavelengths can be sent simultaneously over fiber, which essentially creates a single virtual network for each while greatly expanding the capacity of the network.

There are 2 types of WDM in use today—CWDM (Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing) and DWDM (Dense Wave Division Multiplexing). CWDM can produce up to 18 active wavelengths and DWDM up to 80.