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Spie Press Book

Instructor's Manual to Accompany Understanding Fiber Optics, Fifth Edition
Author(s): Jeff Hecht
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Book Description

The Instructor's Manual is a companion to the fifth edition of Understanding Fiber Optics for both instructors teaching a class and learners studying on their own or in a class. It explains the organization of the book and a strategy for using it to learn about fiber optics. It also answers questions that were asked in the book. In addition to giving the answers for multiple-choice quizzes, it elaborates on "questions to think about" and gives worked-out answers for problems, displaying the calculations so learners can follow the process of getting an answer. This supplements the book's goals of helping readers understand fiber optics and their applications. [Publisher of the Instructor Manual: LaserLight Press, Auburndale, Massachusetts]

Understanding Fiber Optics, Fifth Edition is available from the following link:
Understanding Fiber Optics, Fifth Edition

Book Details

Date Published: 31 August 2022
Pages: 112
Volume: PM358

Table of Contents
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Table of Contents

Preface: About Understanding Fiber Optics, 5th edition

1 Introduction to Fiber Optics

2 Fundamentals of Fiber-Optic Components

3 Fundamentals of Communications

4 Types of Optical Fibers

5 Properties of Optical Fibers

6 Fiber Materials, Structure, and Manufacture

7 Special-Purpose Fibers

8 Cabling

9 Light Sources

10 Transmitters

11 Receivers

12 Amplification, Regeneration, and Wavelength Conversion

13 Connectors and Splices

14 Couplers and Other Passive Components

15 Wavelength-Division Multiplexing Optics

16 Optical Switches, Modulators, and Other Active Components

17 Fiber-Optic Measurements

18 Troubleshooting and Test Equipment

19 System and Optical Networking Concepts

20 Fiber System Standards

21 Single-Channel System Design

22 Optical Networking System Design

23 Global Telecommunications Applications

24 Regional and Metro Telecommunications

25 Local Telephone or "Access" Networks

26 Internet Access and Local-Area Networks

27 Video Transmission

28 Mobile Fiber-Optic Communications

29 Fiber-Optic Sensors

30 Imaging and Illuminating Fiber Optics

General Resources

Additional Acronyms


Understanding Fiber Optics began as a self-study text, but has been widely adopted for classroom use. It concentrates on fiber optics for communications, but also gives brief introductions to other uses of fiber optics in imaging, illumination, and sensing. It is written for the classroom rather than as a laboratory text; my goal is to explain principles rather than to detail procedures such as cable installation. Several chapters, including the first three introductory chapters, have been rewritten and reorganized. The entire book also has been updated to clarify concepts and to reflect new technology and business developments such as the start of deployment of fiber to the home systems. Many illustrations have been redrawn to make them clearer and to correct mistakes. The changes include more realistic descriptions of the actual use of fiber systems, and discussions of how the telecommunications bubble distorted reality. To help you keep up to date, I have included lists of written and organizational resources at the end of this manual, as well as notes on Web resources.

My goal is to explain fundamental concepts at an elementary level accessible to anyone with a minimal technical background. To that end, I have written in a casual tone, included many "cartoon" drawings showing how things work, taken pains to explain industry jargon before using it, and generally avoided math beyond basic algebra. I draw analogies and contrasts with common technologies, particularly electronics, both to help students understand how fiber optics work, and to illuminate important differences. I assume students taking a fiber optics course have had some exposure to electronics, but I don't assume an in-depth expertise in either electronics or communications.

I use metric units throughout, because they are standard for most dimensions in optics and fiber optics. I translate metric units into Imperial (English) units in only a few places. The communications industry is inconsistent in its usage; while fiber attenuation is universally measured in decibels per kilometer, cable runs are often given in miles or feet.

Each chapter includes a multiple-choice quiz for students to test themselves, and a set of open-ended "Questions to Think About" to push their horizons. The questions span a broad range, from asking "why" something works (or doesn't work) to word problems requiring calculations. The fifth edition for the first time includes short "things to think about" in many chapters, covering ideas from whether glass can flow at ordinary temperatures to digital rights management on the Internet.

This instructor's manual is intended to give you a quick overview of what each chapter contains, and to suggest teaching strategies and additional resources. The description of each chapter includes answers to the multiple choice quiz and to the open ended "Questions to Think About" included with each chapter in the text; to save you the trouble of looking back and forth, I repeat the Questions to Think About included in the text.

I welcome any suggestions and comments you might have for future editions. If you think you have found mistakes, or if anything seems unclear, please contact me. I am far from infallible, and continue searching for ways to improve my explanations. Please contact me by mail at

Jeff Hecht
Auburndale, Massachusetts
March 2005

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