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This paper describes the demonstration of 2.5-Gb/s four-user optical-code-division-multiple-access (OCDMA) system operating at bit-error rate /spl les/10/sup -11/ utilizing programmable spectral phase encoding, an ultrasensitive (/spl sim/200 fJ/b) periodically poled lithium-niobate-waveguide nonlinear waveform discriminator and 10G Ethernet receiver. A comprehensive description of this ultra-short-pulse spectral phase-coded OCDMA system is presented. On the subsystem level, two key component technologies, namely, femtosecond encoding/decoding and low-power high-contrast nonlinear discrimination, have been developed and characterized. At the system level, data for the four-user OCDMA system operating at 2.5 Gb/s for binary as well as multilevel code families are described.