The external efficiency of conventional light-emitting diodes (LED's) is limited by total internal reflection at the semiconductor-air interface. For conventional GaAs-based LED's, this results in an extraction efficiency of 2%. In non- resonant cavity (NRC) LED's, this problem is overcome by a combination of internal scattering at a textured top surface and reflection on a back mirror, which increases the probability of escape. Using this approach, we demonstrate external quantum efficiencies of up to 40% without encapsulation of the LED. To gain a more detailed understanding of the out-coupling mechanisms in NRC-LED's, the scattering properties of the textured surface are investigated experimentally. The optimum surface texture is found to randomize the direction of the internally reflected light almost perfectly. In addition, NRC-LED's also enables the enhancement of the external quantum efficiency for small and fast LED's. With efficiencies of about 15%, we demonstrate bitrates of more than 1.3 GBit/s. In order to modify the lambertian output characteristics, we have successfully applied microlenses, allowing 50% coupling efficiency into optical fibers with NA equals 0.5.