This paper reviews the research into and development trends to date of high-speed high-sensitivity semiconductor superlattice (SL) avalanche photodiodes (APDs) for use in 1.3 to 1.55μm wavelength optical communications. We focus on three types of SL-APDs based on an InAlGaAs-well/InAlAs-barrier structure. The first is an InAlGaAs/InAlAs polyimide-coated mesa-structure SL-APD with a high gain-bandwidth product of over 120GHz and a low multiplied dark current of a few tens of nano-amperes. Its reliability has been measured to be over 105h at 50°C. The second is a planar-structure SL-APD with a new titanium-implanted guard-ring; this structure has a longer lifetime than the mesa structure. The third is a large-receiving-area SL-APD integrated with a monolithic lens for eye-safety 1.5μm wavelength optical measurement systems.