Optics 101

What is a Fiber Optic Switch?

Fiber optic switches are optic elements that are used in telecommunication to enable the signals in optical fibers to be switched from one circuit to another. These switches may operate in a number of ways such as mechanical transfer, electro-optic transfer or magneto-optic transfer.

Bidirectional switching between circuits is also possible by using optical switches. Most of the conventional fiber optic switches are made using a waveguide, which translates to high coupling losses.

Working Principle

Optical switching works by one of two ways - either an actuator is used to reposition the fiber into alignment with the correct output fiber, or a connecting device is switched, which can be easier to configure but results in higher losses.


Some of the application areas of fiber optic switching are listed below:

  • Telecommunication networks
  • Remote fiber test systems.


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