Optical Links

There are many benefits to using optical links, in place of waveguide and coaxial cable, for the transport of RF signals. In situations where equipment (antennas, satcom modems, etc.) are separated by long distances (> 100 meters), optical links provide low loss signal transport (~ 0.7 dB/km RF attenuation). Unlike copper, this fiber attenuation is not dependent on RF frequency. Optical links provide secure transport. Fiber links do not radiate RF energy, are more immune to lightning, and do not create ground loops. Fiber optical links are lightweight and easier to install and maintain. Fiber has a bend radius ~ 2 cm, and is 10% the weight of typical coaxial cable, and 4% the weight of typical waveguide. As RF transport distances increase, the cost benefits of optical links increase due to the elimination of RF amplification and signal regeneration.