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Chapter 14:
Short-Distance Optical Interconnections with VCSELs
Photonic technologies and fiber optic interconnections have been ubiquitous for some time in long-haul communications. Currently they are invading metropolitan and local-area networks. The advantage of optics for long-haul, wide-area, and local-area network interconnections is that high-bandwidth digital optical signals can be inexpensively propagated over long distances in the range of hundreds of meters to thousands of kilometers, at high data rates and with low degradation and attenuation. Furthermore, recent developments have led to the installation of system that exploit the use of a multiplicity of spectral bands in a single fiber for signal transmission through wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) to provide an even higher aggregate bandwidth and more networking flexibility. The significant performance advantage of fiber optic interconnections over long distances has also sparked a natural interest in applying photonic technologies to bridge shorter distances with applications like “fiber to the office” and “fiber to the desk;” see Fig. 14.1. This has led to the introduction of an optical interconnection hierarchy that spans the entire range of digital signal link distances in a network.
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