Advantages of WDM | Disadvantages of WDM | Wavelength Division Multiplexing

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of WDM. It mentions WDM advantages or benefits and WDM disadvantages or drawbacks. WDM stands for Wavelength Division Multiplexing.

What is WDM?

The WDM is the short form of Wavelength Division Multiplexing. This optical multiplexing uses different frequencies at different wavelengths to transmit data separately over multiple channels.

WDM-Wavelength Division Multiplexing

The WDM assigns unique frequencies of light having certain bandwidth to different optical signals. The multiplexed wavelengths are transmitted over single fiber. At the demultiplexer end, these signals are selected using tuner of desired bandwidth.


In WDM, all the signals arrive at the same time with different wavelengths unlike TDM. Refer What is WDM >> and TDM versus WDM >>.

Benefits or advantages of WDM

Following are the benefits or advantages of WDM:
➨Full duplex transmission is possible.
➨Easier to reconfigure.
➨Optical components are similar and more reliable.
➨It provides higher bandwidth.
➨This could be the best approach as it is simple to implement.
➨High security

Drawbacks or disadvantages of WDM

Following are the disadvantages of WDM:
➨Signals can not be very close.
➨Light wave carrying WDM are limited to 2-point circuit.
➨Scalability is a concern as OLT (Optical Line Termination) has to have transmitter array with one transmitter for each ONU (Optical Network Unit). Adding a new ONU could be problem unless transmitters were provisioned in advance. Each ONU must have a wavelength specific laser.
➨Cost of system increases with addition of optical components.
➨(WDM in PON:) Inefficiency in BW utilization, difficulty in wavelength tuning, difficulty in cascaded topology


DWDM system basics    Tutorial on FTTH basics    Single mode vs Multimode fiber    Single mode step index vs multimode graded index fiber    Types of WDM    PDH versus SDH    SONET versus SDH    What is PDMA?    What is WDM?    SONET SDH tutorial    SDH Networks    SDH Frame structure    SDH Modulation    PDH over SONET    PDH Frame structure   

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