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For two people to communicate, they must speak the same language. Communication systems likewise work only if transmitters and receivers attached to them speak the same language. Communication engineers have devised standards to assure that equipment from different companies will be able to interface properly.
This chapter will introduce you to the system-level standards most important for fiber-optic systems. Some are specific to fiber optics; others also cover other communi- cations technologies. The topic of standards is complex and continuously evolving, so I will not go into much depth, especially for standards with little direct impact on fiber- optic systems. However, you should at least learn to recognize the most important standards and their functions.
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