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Optical communications is a quickly evolving field, driven by the ever increasing need for communication bandwidth. Over the next decade, the field is expected to mature substantially as high-speed components enable more advanced modulation and digital signal processing. With the standardization of 100-Gb/s Ethernet well in progress, terabit Ethernet is just over the horizon. As data rates continue to increase above 100 Gb/s, the role of the microwave engineer will become more and more critical to the success of next-generation optical communications gear. There is a tremendous opportunity for the radio engineer to migrate his or her skills to work in the field of microwave signal integrity. This is an up-and-coming field with lots of room for innovative research. In this article, the current state of the art and the research frontiers of 100 G optical communication systems is explained, and various optical modulation approaches are illustrated. Furthermore, comparison with traditional microwave communication systems is presented as well as the increasing role of the microwave engineer in high-speed optical communication design.