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The receiver sensitivity of a moderate bit rate optical fiber communication link is investigated. The effect of both power conversion among the guided modes of the fiber and power loss to the radiation field from the guided modes is examined. Three different receiver filter designs are considered; a zero-forcing equalization procedure and two filters which do not compensate for the pulse dispersion introduced by the optical fiber channel. The degree of sophistication required in the detection process is a function of the mode coupling and attenuation parameters and the numerical results provide useful quantitative information for this aspect of system design. In particular, the channel parameter values for which processing techniques are required to compensate for pulse dispersion can be obtained from the results.