The explosive growth in internet, multimedia and wireless traffic in recent years is rapidly exhausting capacity in public networks worldwide, forcing network service providers to aggressively install new lines and upgrade old ones. Fortunately, technological breakthroughs in the areas of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFA's), passive wavelength demultiplexers and low chirp sources have made all-optical dense wavelength-division multiplexed (WDM) systems a cost- effective way to utilize the vast bandwidth already available in the embedded fiber plant. WDM systems offer additional operational advantages, including high ultimate capacity, bit-rate transparency, flexible growth strategies, and the potential to use all-optical wavelength routing in future broadband network architectures. Commercial WDM systems operating at the OC-48 (2.5 Gbit/s) line rate are now available, and OC-192 (10 Gbit/s) terminal equipment which is under development will further enhance the capacity of these systems. One of the keys to viable WDM systems is the availability of inexpensive low-chirp optical transmitters. By taking advantage of photonic integrated circuit technology, it is possible to produce monolithically integrated DFB laser/EA modulators (EML's) with low chirp, low drive voltage and high extinction ratio, in a single compact package. In this talk we discuss the operating characteristics of these devices and their relationship to WDM system performance.