The first realization of a wavelength-selective switch (WSS) with direct integration of few mode fibers (FMF) is fully described. The freespace optics FMF-WSS dynamically steers spectral information-bearing beams containing three spatial modes from an input port to one of nine output ports using a phase spatial light modulator. Sources of mode dependent losses (MDL) are identified, analytically analyzed and experimentally confirmed on account of different modal sensitivities to fiber coupling in imperfect imaging and at spectral channel edges due to mode clipping. These performance impacting effects can be reduced by adhering to provided design guidelines, which scale in support of higher spatial mode counts. The effect on data transmission of cascaded passband filtering and MDL build-up is experimentally investigated in detail.
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©2015 Optical Society of America.