Optical Communication and Networks

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Abstract The paper gives an overview of optical communication and its contribution towards high capacity networks. The merits of using fibre as medium in comparison to the electronic/electrical counterpart have been amply brought out. The paper explains the basic transmission theory on the basis of ray optics and brings out the causes of deterioration of optical signal while propagation.


The concept of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and DWDM has also been introduced. Finally, the latest trends in optical communication and networks are briefly explained.
Optical communication system is similar to any kind of communication system, as far as the basics are concerned. The major difference in optical and other communication models is the additional requirement of a source (for conversion of signal from electrical to optical domain), receiver (for conversion from optical to electrical domain) and use of fibre as media in place of conventional copper wire or microwave. The use of glass fibre or optical fibre features a number of advantages that make it a formidable media, in comparison to others.
One of the most important assets of optical communication is the availability of enormous potential bandwidth to the tune of hundreds of GHz. The potential cannot be fully harnessed owing to electrical domain limitation. However, technologies like WDM or DWDM are evolving to optimize the available bandwidth usage. Being fabricated from glass, the fibre does no have earth loop or interface problem as are evident in electrical media. ...
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