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Fiber Optics Communications


Credit Hours:


Start Date:

March 28, 2022

Learning Objective:

  1. To analyze wave propagation in optical fibers
  2. To select optical receivers and transmitters suitable for optical telecommunications
  3. To design efficient fiber optical physical networks
  4. Optical network architectures
  5. To assess key concepts behind future optical networks


For Spring 2020, the class duration is: Mar 30 - May 1, 2020
This course will aim to introduce students to the fundamentals of fiber optic communications, which constitute the backbone of the internet. The course will start with a refresher on the operation of key components needed for an effective fiber optic communication system, and then show how these components interact at a system level. Finally, the course will conclude with outlook for future research in extending the capabilities of these networks to higher bandwidths and quantum-secured communications.
Spring 2020 Syllabus

Topics Covered:

1Optical fibers: wave propagation, dispersion, and lossChapters 1 & 2
2Optical transmitters and receivers: materials, sources, modulation, speed limitationsChapters 3 & 4
3Fundamental concepts in optical communication networks: power, noise, and speedSections 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.4
4Current optical communication network architectures: TDM, DWDM, QPSK, QAMChapter 8, Section 10.2
5Future optical networks: fiber-to-the-home, data centers, quantum key distributionChapter 9


Graduate standing. Background in optics (e.g., ECE 311 or higher) preferred.

Applied / Theory:

50 / 50


Homework sample problems will be provided for practice


There will be 5 weekly quizzes (one per unit).


The primary course textbook is Fiber-optic communication systems (4th Edition) by Govind P. Agrawal, John Wiley, & Sons, New York, 2010. ISBN 0470505117

Computer Requirements:

ProEd minimum requirements.

Other Requirements:

edX will be the hub of activity. Will provide information that can't be shared via edX through either Blackboard (or a replacement learning management system), or in rare cases, Filelocker.

ProEd Minimum Requirements: