Laurence N. Wesson and Simon P. Bush, Aurora Instruments Inc.
Communications network engineers have found polarization-maintaining fiber to be a finicky but necessary technology for coherent transmission systems. Advanced splicing tools can help tame the beast.
Once an exotic technology used primarily by research groups, polarization-maintaining fiber is coming into much wider use because it promises to solve some problems in high-speed multiwavelength communications.
With a wider array of applications, however, comes the need for more people to understand how to use the fiber and connect it to communications systems. Splicing polarization-maintaining fibers is not as easy as splicing ordinary telecommunication fiber, but commercial solutions can make the task practical.