Fiber Optics Teaching and Consulting

I offer short courses, educational material and consulting on fiber optics technology, markets and patents.  

I have been involved with fiber-optic communications since the 1970s, and have watched the growth of the technology and the market from a young technology to the backbone of the global telecommunications network. Trained in electronic engineering at Caltech, I draw on that education and my years of experience to explain and analyze fiber optics, lasers and communications technology. 

(Please note that I am not associated with the Chinese company Fiberhome, which now owns the site


My decades of experience help me to find people and information you need. I don't design systems, but I do have a broad understanding of fiber-optic hardware, systems and applications. I have an archive of publications that can help trace the history of concepts and ideas, such as patent issues. If you want to learn more about the field and where it's going, I will be glad to discuss how I can help you. Please e-mail me at [my first name][AT]

Short Courses on Fiber Optics

I have taught short courses based on Understanding Fiber Optics at industry conferences, and am available for on-site courses in the northeastern US. SPIE, the International Society for Optical Engineering, recorded a pair of my five-hour courses in 2000 which they offer on video. They obviously are dated, but do illustrate my course approach.

Writing on Fiber Optics and Telecommunications

I have written about fiber optics and their applications in telecommunications for a wide range of magazines, including Technology Review, Laser Focus World, Optics & Photonics News, IEEE Spectrum, Upside, and Omni, where in 1982 I was the first person to write for a general audience about the potential for fiber optics to bring what we now call broadband services to homes.


Understanding Fiber Optics, 5th edition (2006)

First published in 1987, Understanding Fiber Optics is now in its fifth edition, and has sold over 100,000 copies. Widely used as an introductory textbook, for corporate training, and as a self-study guide, it is written to give the reader an intuitive understanding of fiber-optic technology and its applications, particularly in communications. It opens with three chapters that introduce the reader to fiber optics as a whole, the optical technology behind fiber optics, and the field of telecommunications. Following chapters explain optical fibers and their properties, specialty fibers, cables, light sources, transmitters, receivers, and other important components. Two chapters cover measurements, testing, and troubleshooting. A series of chapters covers system concepts and standards, system design, and telecommunication systems ranging from the global telecommunications network to your local phone network. The final two chapters cover fiber-optic sensors and imaging bundles. Throughout, I concentrate on explaining concepts rather than deriving equations, and include a glossary and an appendix of helpful equations and constants. 

I am now working on a sixth edition, and offering copies of the 2006 fifth edition at reduced prices. PDF electronic copies are now available from for $9.95. A POD paperback edition for $39.00 and a Kindle 'print replica' edition for $12.99 are both available from 

Click Here for my Free PDF Fiber-Optic Glossary from the book 

For more details please see my Understanding Fiber Optics page


City of Light: The Story of Fiber Optics (Oxford, 1999, 2004)

City of Light tells how fiber-optic technology developed from early demonstrations of light guiding in flowing jets of water, through instruments that allow physicians to look inside the stomach without surgery, to the communication fibers that provide the backbone of today's global telecommunication network. There are tales of bright ideas, hard work, disappointment, and triumph. The cast ranges from the college undergraduate who made a key breakthrough to eminent professors of physics and independent-minded entrepreneurs. The trade paperback edition published in 2004 includes a new epilogue on the fiber-optic boom, the bubble, and the bust, bringing the story up to the present day.

See the timetable of fiber-optic development.

© Jeff Hecht 2019