A Brief Update on Optical Technology and Applications

The optical communications market has been affected by the recent economic slump to a greater degree than most other areas of technol-ogy. Ironically, this is partly a result of its success—in response to a huge increase in the amount of data transmitted via optical backbone links, engineers have made breakthrough developments in transmission efficiency. Now, what was once thought to be a prudent amount of future capacity is a glut of bandwidth that will take years to fill. This is because engineers figured out how to dramatically increase the capacity of a sin-gle fiber, compared to existing technology at the time the fiber was installed.