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Schemes are proposed for the highly reliable gain control of erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) and for power monitoring to detect faults in wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) networks. These schemes employ one WDM channel (a control channel). The EDFA gain and output power levels are controlled by monitoring the control channel power that is automatically controlled and stabilized in the node. This prevents the uncontrolled EDFA operation that might result from any serious change in the control channel power. The use of a power stabilized control channel for power monitoring makes it possible to detect transmission system faults correctly because the monitoring of the control channel power is unaffected by the amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) generated in the EDFA. We also report experimental results on the dependence of the transient response of the EDFA gain and output power on the signal channel power and channel number input into the EDFA, when the power of the control channel changes due to problems with its light source. Numerical calculation of the gain transience explains the experimental results.