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Optical communications is undergoing a second revolution which is providing new challenges to photonic device designers. The achievement of lower fiber loss, higher bit rates and more channels per fiber has resulted in a doubling of information transmission capacity, per fiber, every year in long haul telecommunication transmission systems. New device developments such as single frequency lasers at 1.55µm and high performance long wavelength avalanche photodiodes are expected to continue to drive this trend. As costs are lowered, in part by more extensive opto-electronic integration, lightwave technology will also be applied with increasing success to customer premises data links and local area networking generally.