Widely tunable vertical cavity surface emitting lasers (VCSEL) are of high interest for optical communications, gas spectroscopy and fiber-Bragg-grating measurements. In this paper we present tunable VCSEL operating at wavelength around 850 nm and 1550 nm with tuning ranges up to 20 nm and 76 nm respectively. The first versions of VCSEL operating at 1550 nm with 76 nm tuning range and an output power of 1.3mW were not designed for high speed modulation, but for applications where only stable continious tuning is essential (e.g. gas sensing). The next step was the design of non tunable VCSEL showing high speed modulation frequencies of 10 GHz with side mode supression ratios beyond 50 dB. The latest version of these devices show record output powers of 6.7mW at 20 °C and 3mW at 80 °C. The emphasis of our present and future work lies on the combination of both technologies. The tunable VCSEL operating in the 850 nm-region reaches a modulation bandwidth of 5.5GHz with an output power of 0.8mW.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.