The evolution of an optical pulse in a strongly dispersion-managed fiber-optic communication system is studied. The pulse is decomposed into a fast phase and a slowly evolving amplitude. The fast phase is calculated exactly, and a nonlocal equation for the evolution of the amplitude is derived. In the limit of weak dispersion management the equation reduces to the nonlinear Schrödinger equation. A class of stationary solutions of this equation is obtained; they represent pulses with a Gaussian-like core and exponentially decaying oscillatory tails, and they agree with direct numerical solutions of the full system.
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