Complementing the fiber evolution has been the evolution in signal modulation formats, resulting in more compact signal spectra and more robust channels. Finally, new coding methods, in particular forward-error correction schemes, have greatly increased the design margins possible for optical transport and have figured significantly in the enhancement of capacity and range over the past 5 or 6 years. Further technological advances in all-optical signal regeneration, modulation formats, and channel filtering are expected to continue to enable improvements in fiber-optic communications.
It is also worth reflecting on the many notable spin-offs of past telecommunications research. Examples include:
Transistors, which spawned the entire semiconductor and computer industry, and an enormous range of applications in communications, computing, media, and entertainment;
Lasers, which have seen widespread application in medicine (surgery), consumer electronics (CD and DVD players), manufacturing, and even toys and games;
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