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Optical Communications

Practical perspective

Nguyn Quc Tun

Network and Communication Department
Faculty of Electronics and Telecommunications


Forms of Communication Systems

The electromagnetic spectrum

Optical Network Classification

Optical Network Classification
- Publish network

Optical Network Classification
- Enterprise Networks

- The invention of the laser in about 1960 forms the starting point for optical
communications research
- In the early 1960s free space optical communications research started1
- One of the more significant military programs was the Air Force 405B program which
set out to develop space qualified laser communications hardware
The system was flight tested in the late 1970s at the White Sands Missile Range
+ A common figure of merit for transmission of this type is the bit rate-distance product
(B*L). The large improvement offered by the high carrier frequency of optical
transmission fibers is the motivation for optical communication system development
+ During the 1960s the main drawback of optical fiber were their loss. Thats years the
loss was ~ 1000 dB/km
+ In 1970, losses were reduced to 20 dB/km by using the refined fiber fabrication
techniques. At that time GaAs semiconductor lasers were able to operate at room

Optical Network Evolution
- Optical communication system are evolving to adapt to the ever increasing
demands of telecommunication needs
- Optical network technology has come closely related to the Internet technology and
has the same ultimate goal: high demands for high bandwidth and distance
independent connectivity
- Six generations have done for optical fiber communication in historical perspective
First Generation
+ 1980 operate at 0.8mm wavelength and 45 Mb/s data rate. Repeater spacing was
10km and was much greater than for comparable coax systems

Optical Network Evolution
- Second Generation

+ Deployed during the late 80s and focused on using a transmission wavelength
near 1.3 mm to take advance of the low attenuation ( <1dB/km) and low dispersion.
+ Sources and detectors were developed by using InGaAsP semiconductors.
+ The bit rate of these system were limited < 100Mb/s due to dispersion in multimode fibers. So Single mode fiber was then incorporated.
+ By 1987 second generation system were operating at 1.7 Gb/s at 1.3 mm with
repeater spacing of 50km

Optical Network Evolution
- Third Generation

+ These system were based on the use of 1.55mm sources and detectors.
The attenuation of fused silica fiber is minimal.
Two approaches were taken to solve the problem The first was to develop
single mode laser (SLM) and the second was to develop dispersion shifted fiber at
+ In 1990, 1.55mm system operate at 2.55 Gb/s were commercially available and
able to operating at 10 Gb/s for distance 100km.
Best performance was achieved with dispersion shifted fibers in conjunction
with single mode laser.
The drawback of these system was the need for electronic generation with
repeater typically spaced every 60-70km, Coherent detect method were
investigated to increase sensitivity .

Optical Network Evolution
- Fourth Generation

+ These system are based on optical amplifiers at 1.55mm to increase repeater spacing
and WDM to increase aggregate bit rate.
Erbium doped fiber amplifiers to amplify signals without electronic
regeneration. The commercial system sending signal over 11300km at 5Gb/s without
System capacity is increase by using WDM and multi wavelengths can be
amplified the same optical amplifier.
In 1996 signals 20.5 Gb/s was transmitted over 9100km and B-L product of 910
(Tb/s)-km. In these broad band systems dispersion become more of an issue

Optical Network Evolution
- Fifth Generation

+ These effort is primarily concerned with the fiber dispersion problem because Optical
amplifier solve the loss problem bur increase the dispersion. An Ultimate solution is
based on the novel concept of optical solitons. These are pulses that preserve their
shape during propagation in a loss less fiber by counteracting the effect of dispersion
through fiber nonlinearity
+ Experiments using stimulated Raman scattering as the nonlinearity to compensate for
both loss and dispersion was effective in transmitting signals over 4000km
+ EDFA was first used to amplify solitons in 1989 and 1994 a demotration of soliton
transmission over 9400km was performed at a bit rate of 70 Gb/s by multiplexing 7 Gb/s
- 10 channels

Optical Network Evolution
- Sixth Generation

Recently effort have been directed toward greater capacity of fiber systems by
multiplexing a large number of wavelengths (DWDM system). their shape during
propagation in a loss less fiber by counteracting the effect of dispersion. These with
wavelength separation of 0.8nm currently and to reduce this to < 0.5nm. Controlling
wavelength stability and the development of wavelength de-multiplexing devices are
critical to this effort. Now systems are operating at 10Gb/s or 40Gb/s

- Future systems

+ Most probably polarization-multiplexed QPSK system with 100 Gb/s per wavelength
will become reality soon. The researcher effort will focus on 400 Gb/s serial
transmission and then on 1 Tb/s

DWDM Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexer

Evolution of Fiber-Optic Point-to-Point Transmission

Evolution of Fiber-Optic Networks

Five generations of fiber progress (B*L)

Transmission Bandwidth Evolution

Transmission Basics

The wavelength and frequency f are related by the equation

c = f.
where c denotes the speed of light in free space, which is 3108 m/s. The speed of
light in fiber is actually somewhat lower (closer to 2 108 m/s)

Another parameter of interest is channel spacing, which is the spacing between

two wavelengths or frequencies in a WDM system (measured in units of
wavelengths or frequencies). The relationship between the two can be obtained
starting from the equation f = c/
Differentiating this equation around a center wavelength 0, we obtain the
relationship between the frequency spacing Df and the wavelength spacing D as
Df = -( c /l2) D

Transmission Basics
- Example : At a wavelength 0 = 1550 nm, a wavelength spacing of DWDM D = 0.8 nm
corresponds to a frequency spacing of Df =100 GHz, a typical spacing in WDM systems.
- The wavelengths and frequencies used in WDM systems have been standardized on a
frequency grid by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). It is an infinite
grid centered at 193.1 THz,
- The early WDM systems used the so-called C-band, or conventional band
(approximately 15301565 nm). Use of the L-band, or long wavelength band
(approximately 15651625 nm), has become feasible recently with the development
of optical amplifiers in this band.

Transmission Basics
- In optical communication, it is quite common to use decibel units (dB) to measure
power and signal levels,
(Pt )dBW = 10 log(Pt )W or (Pt )dBm = 10 log(Pt )mW
Example: a power of 1 mW corresponds to 0 dBm or 30 dBW. A power of 10 mW
corresponds to 10 dBm or 20 dBW.
- The link loss is then defined as
= (Pr / Pt)

In dB units, we would have ( )dB = 10 log = (Pr )dBm (Pt)dBm.

- Note that dB is used to indicate relative values, whereas dBm and dBW are used to
indicate the absolute power value.

- A technique called multiplexing (TDM or WDM), the sum of the bandwidth of all the
circuits, or connections, on a link must be less than the link bandwidth.
- A other technique called statistical multiplexing when multiple bursty data streams
together on a link. So that, the probability that all streams are active simultaneously is
quite small. Therefore the bandwidth required on the link can be made significantly
smaller than the bandwidth that would be required if all streams were to be active




Other Multiplexing and Coding Techniques
- Space Division Multiplexing:
+ use of several fibers belonging to the same bundle
- Polarization Multiplexing:
+ Using orthogonal states of polarization in fiber to transmit independent data
- Code Division Multiplexing
+ Initially known as spread-spectrum, a particular kind of multiplexing based on
the product between the useful signals and orthogonal pseudorandom sequences (mostly
used in RF/wireless applications, like in third generation wireless phone)
- Multilevel Coding
+ Bandwidth efficient way to increase channel bit-rate without requiring more
modulation bandwidth.

Optical communication systems may be either analog or digital
Intensity Modulated Analog Systems
- With intensity modulation (IM) the information is directly modulated onto the optical
carrier. As an alternative we may wish to use a radio frequency (RF) subcarrier

- Reasons for choosing this SCM/IM scheme are:

To improve the demodulated SNR via nonlinear modulation, e.g., frequency
modulation (FM)
+ To allow multiple subcarriers each carrying a different information source (subcarrier

Optical Fiber Systems
Digital Systems
- Digital systems may implement:
+ Intensity modulation with baseband direct detection (IM/DD)
+ Intensity modulation using subcarriers
+ Coherent modulation and demodulation
- The most common IM/DD scheme is on-off keying (OOK)

Optical spectrum for intensity modulation
- If the intensity modulation is imposed to the optical signal together with unwanted
phase or frequency modulation (e.g chirp under direct laser modulation, excess laser
phase noise)
+ The resulting optical spectrum is larger than the bit rate
- If the modulation is a (nearly) pure intensity modulation, without any accompanying
phase/frequency shift (e.g. external modulation)
+ The resulting spectrum has a primary lobe that occupies the order of the bit rate

Telecommunications Network Architecture
- A local-exchange carrier (LEC) offers local services in metropolitan areas, and an
interexchange carrier (IXC) offers long-distance services. This distinction is blurring
rapidly as LECs expand into long distance and IXCs expand into local services.

Optical Networks - NGN
- Typical optical networks structure can be presented by three concentric circle
+ Core networks is wide area network (WAN) or interchange carrier (IXC)
+ Edge network is Metropolitan area network (MAN) or local exchange carrier (LEC)
+ Access Network is LAN or distribute network

All-Optical Networks

The key network elements that enable optical networking are optical line terminals
(OLTs), optical add/drop multiplexers (OADMs), and optical cross-connects (OXCs).
+ An OLT multiplexes multiple wavelengths into a single fiber and de-multiplexes a
set of wavelengths on a single fiber into separate fibers. OLTs are used at the
ends of a point-to-point WDM link.
+ An OADM takes in signals at multiple wavelengths and selectively drops some of
these wavelengths locally while letting others pass through. It also selectively
adds wavelengths to the composite outbound signal.
+ An OXC essentially performs a similar function but at much larger sizes. OXCs are
able to switch wavelengths from one input port to another. Both OADMs and
OXCs may incorporate wavelength conversion capabilities.

Transparency and All-Optical Networks
- Light path signal is the trace that optical signal passes between the source and
destination without experiencing any O-E-O conversion

Optical Layers
- Optical networks based on this paradigm are now being deployed. The architecture of
such a network based on OSI
- It is important to define the functions of Optical layer and the interfaces between
layers to allows vendors to manufacture a variety of hardware and software products
performing the functions of some of the layers, and provide the appropriate
interfaces to communicate with other products.

Optical Layers
- The client layers make use of the light paths provided by the optical layer. To a SONET,
Ethernet, or IP network operating over the optical layer, the light paths are simply
replacements for hardwired fiber connections between SONET terminals or IP routers.
- The optical layer provides light paths that are used by SONET and IP network elements.
- The SONET layer multiplexes low-speed circuit-switched streams into higher-speed
streams, which are then carried over light paths. The IP layer performs statistical
multiplexing of packet-switched streams into higher-speed streams,

Optical vs. RF and Copper

Advantages Over RF Systems

Tremendous increase in the modulation bandwidth and hence the overall information
The usable bandwidth of optical systems is about five orders of magnitude larger than
that available to an RF carrier; 25,000 GHz of BW in each optical band
Free space optical systems also provide security and interference immunity since very
narrow beam widths are possible
Due to the small wavelengths involved, optical components are very small in
comparison with RF/microwave components
Fiber specific features include: small size and light weight, electrical isolation, and an
abundance of raw materials (sand for making glass)

Optical vs. RF and Copper
Disadvantages Over RF Systems
Optical frequencies have different propagation characteristics than RF frequencies, thus
the design techniques are much different
- Traditional RF communication systems engineers simply need to be educated on
these issues
The narrow beam widths although good for security and power efficiency, require very
accurate alignment of free space beams and accurate coupling in fiber systems

Optical Communications Pyramid1