Bending effects on bandwidth and loss of a graded-index polymer optical fiber (GI POF) were investigated, and those influences on the optical link performance were discussed simultaneously for the first time. The numerical apertures (NAs) of the GI POFs were deliberately varied from 0.154 to 0.292. A bending radius larger than 10 mm induced little mode coupling and little change in the bandwidth of the GI POF. A bending radius smaller than 10 mm caused degradation in the bandwidths of the higher NA GI POFs. On the other hand, in the lower NA GI POFs, even more severe bending could cause little change in their bandwidths. Thus, the lower NA GI POF seemed preferable in suppressing the bandwidth change. However, the higher NA GI POF exhibited the lower bending loss. The preferable NAs for both characteristics were completely opposite. Moreover, the bending loss under underfilled launch (UFL) could be lower than that under overfilled launch (OFL). On the other hand, the bending loss was equivalent to the bandwidth degradation in view of the link power penalty. Therefore, the bandwidth change and loss caused by the bending were the critical factors to optimize the optical link considering the link power budget. The high-NA GI POF with almost ideal refractive-index profile could provide stable high performance in overgigabit communication even under any bending conditions.
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