JDS Uniphase (Nasdaq: JDSU) starts 2011 with a thunderous roar.

The maker of fiber-optic networking equipment more than doubled its second-quarter non-GAAP earnings to $0.29 per share on revenues of $477 million. Both results were way better than the average analyst estimate, and sales also beat JDSU's own guidance senseless.

The stock is up by more than 25% overnight on this report and has gained 173% over the last year.

Some of the kudos for these terrific numbers belongs to Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and its Xbox 360 Kinect gaming add-on, which shipped 8 million units since launch while featuring JDSU optics. Other growth drivers include increased demand for high-speed network infrastructure and an increase in video streams and next-generation mobile network buildouts.

During the earnings call, management underscored that these trends are lifting all optical networking boats. That explains why fiber optics and network measurement rivals EXFO Electro-Optical Engineering (Nasdaq: EXFO), Oclaro (Nasdaq: OCLR), and Finisar (Nasdaq: FNSR) all saw their stocks make double-digit jumps today without any pop-fueling news of their own.

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO) sees high-speed data demands exploding until at least 2015, and fiber-optic networks are ideally suited for meeting those demands on a global backbone level. None of the major specialists in the industry look terribly expensive today, particularly when taking their growth prospects into account.

Adding JDSU to your Foolish watchlist gives you a simple way to keep track of the core of the optical network industry. You won't be surprised the next time you see these stocks popping like Champagne corks.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.