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Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) is wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) with typical channel spacing of 100 GHz for 40 channels and 50 GHz for 80 channels. Each channel contains a TDM (time division multiplex) signal. And each of up to 80 channels can carry 2.5 Gbps for a total of 200 billion bits per second by the optical fiber. These signals use the 3rd transmission window, called the C-Band, meaning the light beam wavelengths are between 1530nm to 1565nm. (nm = a nanometers or a billionth of a meter)
A basic Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing contains five main components:
DWDM is sometimes called wave division multiplexing (WDM) and WDM is growing denser as the technology evolves. Thus, the two terms are often used synonymously.
Even newer technology, called Raman Amplification, is using light in the L-Band (1565 nm to 1625 nm), approximately doubling the maximum capacities above; thus, with 25 GHz spacing, sometimes called ultra dense wavelength division multiplexing, the system allows up to 160 channel operation.