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EEC135 – Optical Communications I: Fibers

4 units – Winter Quarter

Lecture: 4 hours

Prerequisite: EEC 130B

Grading: Letter.

Catalog Description:

Principles of optical communication systems. Planar dielectric waveguides. Optical fibers: single-mode, multi-mode, step and graded index. Attenuation and dispersion in optical fibers. Optical sources (LEDs and lasers) and receivers. Design of digital optical transmission systems.

Expanded Course Description:

  1. Introduction
    1. Fiber optics
    2. Fundamentals of fiber-optic components
    3. Fundamentals of communications
    4. Evolution of fiber optic systems
    5. Elements of an optical fiber link
  2. Waveguides
    1. Planar waveguides
    2. Step-index multimode fibers
    3. Graded-index multimode fibers
    4. Single-mode fibers
    5. Dispersion-shifted single mode fibers
    6. Polarization in single mode fibers
  3. Signal degradation in optical fibers
    1. Attenuation
    2. Signal distortion (dispersion)
    3. Mode coupling
    4. Optimized single mode fiber design
  4. Optical sources
    1. Light source considerations
    2. Light emitting diodes
    3. Laser principles
    4. Simple semiconductor lasers
  5. Optical Transmitters
    1. Optical transmitter principles and operational considerations
    2. Modulation and chirp
    3. Single-channel transmitter design
  6. Optical Receivers
    1. Photodetector physical principles
    2. Optical receiver principles and noise
    3. Receiver sensitivity and bit-error-rates
  7. Amplifiers
    1. Optical amplifier principles
    2. Optical amplifiers as line amplifiers, booster amplifiers, and pre-amplifiers
    3. Optical repeaters and cascaded amplifier performance
  8. Optical Couplers and other Passive Components
    1. Couplers
    2. Attenuators
    3. Optical isolators
    4. Optical circulators
    5. Multiplexers and demultiplexers
  9. Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM)
    1. WDM networking requirements
    2. WDM systems
    3. WDM technologies
  10. Modulators, Optical Switches and Other Active Components
    1. Modulators and modulations
    2. Switching in optical networks
    3. Optical switching technologies
  11. Designing Optical Network Systems
    1. Telecommunication network structure
    2. Optical Switching Systems and Switching Capacity
    3. Optical Transmission Systems and Transmission Capacity
    4. Single-channel transmission system design
      1. Power budget
      2. Transmission capacity budget
      3. Dispersion management
      4. Optical amplifier placements and performance tradeoffs


  1. J. Hecht, Understanding Fiber Optics, Prentice Hall.
  2. Optional Textbook: G. Keiser, Optical Fiber Communications, McGraw-Hill,
  3. Optional Textbook: J. Buck, Fundamentals of Optical Fibers, Wiley Interscience.

Engineering Design Statement:

Students who have successfully completed this course will be able to analyze optical point-to-point communication links. They should understand wave propagation in dielectric waveguides; dispersion in dielectric waveguides; fiber optic wave-guide technologies including fabrication methods; the design of step-index optical fibers; optical transmitting and receiving devices, optical power generation and detection and sources of noise. They will be able to apply these fundamentals to the design of digital communication links subject to performance and cost constraints.

Relationship to Outcomes:
Students who have successfully completed this course should have achieved:

Course Outcomes ABET Outcomes
An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering A
An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data C
An ability to function on multidisciplinary teams D
An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems E
An ability to communicate effectively G
An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. K


Professional Component:

Engineering Depth

Engineering Science: 1 credit
Engineering Design: 2 credits