GaAs ICs Arm 10-Gb/s Optical Communications Systems

Digital fiber-optic communications systems at 10 Gbp/s may seem futuristic to some designers, but the technology, in the form of GaAs integrated circuits (ICs), already exists. By understanding the capabilities of these ICs, today's communications-system designers can effectively create high-speed links. In addition to the more conventional S-parameters, IC designers should consider logic ones and zeros, clock skew, and fanout loading as a new microwave tactic. Fiber-optic communications-system speeds have increased from asynchronous-transfer-mode (ATM) rates of 155 Mb/s and Synchronous Optical Network (SONET) rates of 622 Mb/s to the Optical Carrier (OC) standard of OC-48 at 2.5 Gbp/s. With increasing demands for wireless data transfer, networking, graphics, and high-speed communications using the Internet's World Wide Web, OC-192 at 10 Gbp/s is expected to become the standard fiber-optic operating speed.

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