Refractive-index nonlinearities have negligible effect on the performance of short-haul fiber-optic communication links utilizing electronic repeaters. However, in long optical fiber links, nonlinearities can cause severe signal degradations. To mitigate nonlinear effects, new generation of fibers, referred to as large effective-area fibers, have been introduced in recent years. This paper reviews the latest research and development work on these fibers conducted by several research groups around the world. Attention is focused on a class of large effective-area fibers that are based on a depressed-core multiple-cladding design. Transmission properties, including dispersion, dispersion slope, effective area, mode-field diameter, bending loss, polarization-mode dispersion, and cutoff wavelength are discussed. Dispersion-shifted, non-zero dispersion-shifted, and dispersion-flattened designs are addressed. Design optimization, particularly with regard to effective area, bending loss, and polarization-mode dispersion, is elaborated upon. The trade-off between effective-area and bending loss is emphasized. Results for dispersion-shifted and non-zero dispersion-shifted large effective-area fibers with zero polarization-mode dispersion and low bending loss at 1.55 micrometer wavelength are presented.