Optical networking is a means of communication that uses signals encoded onto light to transmit information among various nodes of a telecommunications network. They operate from the limited range of a local-area network (LAN) or over a wide-area network (WAN), which can cross metropolitan and regional areas all the way to national, international and transoceanic distances. Optical networks utilize light to carry information across fiber-optic cables. An optical transport network (OTN) is a set of optical network elements (ONE) connected by optical fiber links, and provides functionality of transport, multiplexing, switching, management, supervision and survivability of optical channels carrying client signals. Various electrical components are required in optical networks, such as optical line cards. An optical line card is a tributary to a combined optical pipe where the client network element is input over a fiber pair at a fixed wavelength, the data is encoded/decoded, and output on a specific ITU grid wavelength via a fiber pair.
The most common optical networks are fiber-optic mesh networks or ring networks commonly used in metropolitan and regional but also national and international scenarios. Another variant of fiber-optic networks is the passive optical network, which uses unpowered optical splitters to link one fiber to multiple premises for last mile applications.
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