A topic of the paper is fiber-optic integrated network (FOIN) suited to the most hostile environments existing in coal mines. The use of optical fibres for transmission of mine instrumentation data offers the prospects of improved safety and immunity to electromagnetic interference (EMI). The feasibility of optically powered sensors has opened up new opportunities for research into optical signal processing architectures. This article discusses a new fibre-optic sensor network involving a time domain multiplexing(TDM)scheme and optical signal processing techniques. The pros and cons of different FOIN topologies with respect to coal mine applications are considered. The emphasis has been placed on a recently developed all-optical fibre network using spread spectrum code division multiple access (COMA) techniques. The all-optical networks have applications in explosive environments where electrical isolation is required.