Fiber optic networks support virtually all of the long haul (>200km) and ultra long haul (>1000 km) telecommunication needs in North America. In order to accommodate the growth of data and voice traffic carried in these long haul networks, network capacity is enhanced by increasing the data rate from 10 Gbps to 40 Gbps. Networks operating at 40 Gbps have increasingly stringent specifications, including restrictions on the total chromatic and polarization dispersion of the optical fiber, equipment, and components used in the equipment. In this paper, such requirements are discussed in the context of specific component functions (such as WDM). The ability of thin film devices to meet these requirements is examined relative to devices made using competing technologies.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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