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Photonics Handbook®
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ARTICLE OF THE HOUR Characterizing High-Speed Transmitters
The Emphasis Is on Waveforms
The basic fiber-based communications system consists of a laser transmitter which converts electrical data to intensity-modulated light, a fiber optic cable as short as a few meters or as long as 100-plus kilometers, and a photodetector that converts the information on the light back to an electrical signal. An indicator of how well the entire system performs is a measurement called bit-error-ratio (BER). Acceptable BERs range from one error per billion to one per trillion bits transmitted. It...

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