Optical links are used for the readout of the 4088 silicon microstrip modules that make up the SemiConductor Tracker of the ATLAS experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The optical link requirements are reviewed, with particular emphasis on the very demanding environment at the LHC. The on-detector components have to operate in high radiation levels for 10 years, with no maintenance, and there are very strict requirements on power consumption, material and space. A novel concept for the packaging of the on-detector optoelectronics has been developed to meet these requirements. The system architecture, including its redundancy features, is explained and the critical on-detector components are described. The results of the extensive Quality Assurance performed during all steps of the assembly are discussed.