The physics of fiber in optical networks

'Optical Fibers,' Chapter 5, from "The Cable and Telecommunications Handbook, Volume 2, Third Edition" focuses attention on the history and evolution of optical fiber, as well as special fibers that are currently in use in optical networks. Additional topics covered are the mathematical equations used to build optical networks, the need for more efficient multiplexing schemes and flexible control methods, and the development of standards initiatives. This chapter provides readers with a thorough understanding of the components to create and use optical fibers effectively.

"Optical fiber communications have come a long way since Kao and Hockman (then at the Standard Telecommunications Laboratories in England) published their pioneering paper on communication over a piece of fiber using light (Kao and Hockman, 1966). It took Robert Maurer, Donald Keck, and Peter Schultz (then at Corning Glass Works - USA) four years to reach the loss of 20 dB/km that Kao and Hockman had considered as the target for loss, and the rest, as they say, is history." ( From "The Cable and Telecommunications Handbook;" Introduction to Chapter 5, 'Optical Fibers.')

In "Optical Fibers," a chapter download from The Cable and Telecommunications Handbook, Volume 2, Third Edition,

(Focal Press, 2008), telecommunications consultant Takis Hadjifotiou examines the history and evolution of optical fiber and optical fiber communications, the characteristics and use of special fibers in optical networks, and fiber loss and dispersion. Hadjifotiou also walks readers through several of the mathematical equations necessary to build and maintain optical networks. Chapter 5 Optical Fibers offers readers a comprehensive understanding of the structure of optical fibers and how to use them effectively in an optical network.

This chapter includes in-depth information on:

  • The structure and physics of an optical fiber
  • Material characteristics of fibers -- Losses
  • Material characteristics of fibers -- Dispersion
  • Multimode fibers
  • Single-mode fibers
  • Special single-mode fibers
  • Special fibers
  • Nonlinear optical effects in fiber
  • Future evolution of optical fiber communications
  • References

Download the chapter: Optical Fibers, Chapter 5 (PDF).

About the book: The Cable and Telecommunications Handbook, Volume 2, Third Edition, edited by Goff Hill (Focal Press, 2008) examines the history and evolution of network convergence, as well as the need for more efficient multiplexing schemes and flexible control methods, the development of standards initiatives and the mathematics necessary for successful construction of wireless and optical fiber systems.


Printed with permission from Focal Press, a division of Elsevier. Copyright 2008. "The Cable and Telecommunications Professionals' Reference, V2, 3e," by Goff Hill. For more information about this title and other similar books, please visit Focal Press.


This was first published in July 2009

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