Optical Fibers and RF: A Natural Combination

Noble Publishing
272 pages; $69
ISBN: 1-884932-45-2

The optical fiber industry has experienced a period of consolidation and reorganization and is now poised for a new surge in growth. Taking the approach that optical fibers are an extension of RF-based communications, this book explains basic optical concepts, applications and systems. It begins with a discussion of underlying physical concepts important to optical fiber systems. Chapter 2 discusses the construction and propagation of light in the two basic types of cylindrical glass fibers, multiple and single mode. Non-cylindrical optical waveguides are used in optical integrated circuits and some optical sensors. This use is mentioned in Chapter 6, without a derivation of the waveguide characteristics. Chapter 3 presents the performance characteristics of cylindrical fibers. Their ability to transmit information is dictated by two parameters, dispersion and attenuation. The devices used for generating and detecting light signals are discussed in Chapters 4 and 5. An important characteristic of the light, coherence, is covered in Chapter 4. Radio signals generated to carry modulation or help in the detection process at a receiver are very coherent. This allows the RF bands to be used with a high degree of spectral efficiency. Optical carrier sources still have significant coherence limitations. Chapter 6 discusses the optical components needed to assemble and test an end-to-end system. These components provide many important functions: connecting fibers, controlling levels and reflections of light energy, separating and combining signals, switching and modulating. Chapters 7 and 8 combine the concepts developed in the earlier chapters. Chapter 7 presents two basic systems designs, a short distance analog video link and a long distance digital link. Chapter 8 deals with the current trends in optical fiber use and where the technology might be headed in the future. The spread of Internet packet switching is probably the most important factor in how this technology will be used in the telecommunications arena.

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