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 Comparison between MEMS VOA Array and PLC VOA Array

Guangzhou Yinxun Optiviva Inc. is announcing the general availability of its all-new design VOA array modules. Based on Optiviva¡¯s patented technology of its single channel MEMS VOA, this series of modules extend Optiviva¡¯s VOA product line. With excellent performance, compact size and competitive price, Optiviva¡¯s MEMS VOA array modules have been put into mass production, demonstrating to the market that MEMS technology is superior to PLC technology when applied to VOA manufacturing.

Both of MEMS and PLC VOA arrays are compatible with semiconductor technology in processing and packaging, thus holding common features of compact size and manufacturing feasibility. However for both technologies, labor cost consists of the greatest part when assembling these components and modules, resulting in that it is most profitable to produce these products in Asia (China). However, a large sum of capital investment and a relatively long period of time are required for such Hi-Tech venture to grow in China. So far, in China, there is no PLC VOA manufacturer yet, and Optiviva is the first one to volume-producing MEMS VOA in China.

MEMS VOA is superior to PLC VOA in performance, mainly decided by the difference of their operating principle and processing ability. Working theory of M-Z interference, and imperfectly etched waveguides, put shortcomings on PLC VOA, such as short operating wavelength range, high PDL and PMD, difficulty in WDL control, and high power consumption.

Some comparison between 8-channel MEMS VOA and PLC VOA is showed in Table 1.

Table1. Comparison between 8-channel MEMS VOA and PLC VOA


8ch VOA Array

Optiviva¡¯s MEMS VOA Array

PLC VOA Array*

Insertion Loss



Operating wavelength

C or L band


Dynamic attenuation range



Attenuation continuance

Continuous attenuation

Continuous attenuation

Power consumption

200mw/totally Max.

20mw/port @20dB


<0.3dB @20dB

<0.4dB @20dB




Return loss



Response speed£¨typical£©



Chroma & Brightness attenuation






Size (L*W*H)



         * Based on the published specs in the market place

PLC technology integrates optical modules onto a single wafer, showing advantages in waveguide cost with channel increase. It is easier for PLC to achieve 32 or more channels in one VOA array module, but such module finds less application in present DWDM metro networks, which frequently feature 8 or 16 channels-architectures. However, waveguide production risk and cost are not lowered on 8 or 16-channel PLC VOA arrays versus 32-channel ones. Besides, the control circuits also can¡¯t be simplified on PLC VOA array when channel decreases. Thus in application fields of 8 or 16-channel VOA Arrays, the PLC solution shows higher cost, higher power consumption, and larger footprint than the MEMS VOA arrays.

Optiviva¡¯s MEMS VOA Array series provides a good solution to the metro optical networks, with excellent performance, competitive price, and high reliability.

   Product information can be downloaded from our website, and product orders can be placed via phone or at 


    For sales, please contact:

       USA Office
Edward Xiao    CEO
Tel: +1.408.623.5072

       China Headquarter
Christine Tan    Sales  Manager  
Tel: +86.20.6124.3998 ext. 8808

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