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Calculating Optical Loss Budgets

To calculate the total optical loss (in dB) in a system, add the cable loss, splice loss, and connector loss. Compare the loss figure obtained with the allowable optical loss budget of the receiver. Be certain to add a safety margin factor of at least 3dB to the entire system.

If the peak transmitter power is -10dBm and the receiver sensitivity is -30dBm, the available power budget is 20dB.

If the total loss is less than 20dB, the loss does not exceed the available budget and is therefore O.K.

If the total loss is 14dB, the margin or “head room” is 6dB.

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