In an effort to meet the increasing demands of high-bandwidth communications networks, Corning Incorporated of Corning, N.Y., introduced its newest single-mode optical fiber at the Optical Fiber Communications Conference in February. Dubbed LEAF, the nonzero dispersion-shifted fiber can transmit information on multiple channels, with each channel operating up to four times faster than conventional fiber, according to the company. The fiber was designed to boost the speed and information-handling capacity of medium- to long-distance networks that employ high-output-power erbium-doped fiber amplifiers and dense wavelength division multiplexing technology. To accomplish this upgrade, the company increased the effective area of the fiber by an average of 32 percent. This combats nonlinear effects that can degrade system performance by creating unwanted noise and reduced signal strength. Curt Weinstein, Corning's market manager for high data rate applications, said the fiber allows more light power to be transmitted at reduced intensity, which enables a higher signal-to-noise ratio and no nonlinear effects. The company says the fiber will give system designers a lower cost alternative to standard single-mode fiber because LEAF requires fewer amplifiers and compensators.