The past ten years have seen a factor-of-20 growth in the maximum bit rate attainable in laboratory transmission experiments. Even at the present rate of 8 Gb/s we make use of less than one-tenth of 1 % of the low-loss single-mode fiber window between 1.4 and 1.6 µm. How will this bandwidth be exploited? The fundamental limits to this bit-rate advance are discussed along with the status of current high-speed lightwave technology.

© 1987 Optical Society of America

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