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Optical Network Control: Architecture, Protocols, and Standards by Debanjan Saha, Bala Rajagopalan, Greg Bernstein

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1.2. Optical Transmission Systems

1.2.1. Overview

The first step in the development of fiber optic transmission over meaningful distances was to find light sources that were sufficiently powerful and narrow. The light-emitting diode (LED) and the laser diode proved capable of meeting these requirements. Lasers went through several generations in the 1960s, culminating with the semiconductor lasers that are most widely used in fiber optics today.

The next step was to overcome the loss of signal strength, or attenuation, seen in glass. In 1970, Corning produced the first communication-grade fibers. With attenuation less than 20 decibels per kilometer (dB/km), this purified glass fiber exceeded the threshold for making fiber optics a viable technology. ...

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