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Arshad Ali

Department of Electrical Engineering Lahore University of Management Sciences Lahore Pakistan. Feb 2012

Abstract Free-space optical communication (FSO) is an age long technology that transmit information in the form of optical radiation through the atmosphere from one point to the other. Free space optical (FSO) communication has emerged as a new technology for broadband wireless applications which oers high bandwidth capacity, ease of implementation, lower cost and unlicensed bandwidth. For optical wireless communication systems, most frequently used system is Intensity Modulated Direct Detection (IM/DD) system. For FSO systems, although PPM is power ecient still OOK encoding is more commonly used due to its ecient bandwidth usage and robustness to timing errors. Atmospheric turbulence has a signicant impact on the quality of a laser beam propagating through the atmosphere over long distances. In the presence of atmospheric turbulence, the received signal exhibits random intensity uctuations which result in refractive index avriations and increase in the BER. The information in an optical system can be transmitted in dierent placement of transmitter and receiver. In some links the radiant optical power is directed toward the receiver, while in others the transmitted signal is allowed to bounce diusely o surfaces in the room. At the receiver end of an FSO system the data is corrupted by the addition of noise. The main sources of noise in an optical channel are ambiant light, thermal noise due to the receiver circuitry, shot noise, dark current noise and atmospheric turbulances. In this report the general characteristics, properties and application of FSO systems are discussed briey.

1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Wireless RF Communication . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Overview of Free Space Optical Communication 1.3 Comparison of FSO and RF Communication . . 1.4 FSO Communication System . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4.1 Transmitter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4.2 Atmospheric Channel . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4.3 Receiver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.5 Semiconductor Lasers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Optical Detection Technique 2.1 Direct Detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2 Coherent detection . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3 Receiver Field of View . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4 Noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.1 Thermal noise . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.2 Shot noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.3 Background illumination noise . . . 2.4.4 Dark current noise . . . . . . . . . 2.4.5 White noise . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5 Signal-to-Noise Ratio in Direct Detection . 2.6 Bit Error Rates in FSO links . . . . . . . . 2.7 Channel Topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.7.1 Point-to-Point Links . . . . . . . . 2.7.2 Space division multiplexing . . . . 2.7.3 Diuse Links . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.7.4 Quasi-Diuse Links . . . . . . . . . 2.7.5 Comparison of Channel Topologies 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 10 10 11 13 13 13 14 15 15 15 16 16 16 17 17 18 18 19

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3 Modulation Schemes 3.1 On-O Keying . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 Pulse Position Modulation . . . . . . 3.3 Sub Carrier Intensity Modulation . . 3.3.1 SIM generation and Detection 3.4 Comparison of Modulation Technique 3.5 Power Eciency . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.6 Bandwidth Eciency . . . . . . . . .

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21 21 22 23 24 24 26 27 29 30 31 32 32 32 33 33 34 34

4 Atmospheric Channel 4.1 Molecular Absorption and Scattering . . . 4.2 Atmospheric Turbulence . . . . . . . . . . 4.3 Optical Turbulence . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.1 Optical depth . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.2 SINR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4 Gaussian beam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5 Beam divergence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6 Beam Forming Optics . . . . . . . . . . . 4.7 SNR and BER for Atmospheric Turbulence

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5 Application and Future work of FSO Technology 37 5.1 Application of FSO Technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 5.2 Future Recommendation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

List of Figures
1.1 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 4.1 4.2 Block Diagram of an FSO System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Block Diagram of Direct Detection Receiver . Block Diagram of Coherent Detection Receiver Probability of error and false alarm . . . . . . A point to point FSO system . . . . . . . . . A diuse FSO system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A Quasi diuse FSO system . . . . . . . . . . Comparison of Channel Topologies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 11 12 17 18 19 20 20 25 26 27 28 35 36

Block Diagram of SIM-FSO System: (a) Transmitter (b) Receiver comparison of FSO modulation schemes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comparison of power eciency of OOK and PPM . . . . . . . . . Comparison of Bandwidth eciency of OOK and PPM . . . . . .

Beam Collimation in long range FSO systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SNR comparison in the presence of atmospheric turbulence . . . . . . . . . .

Free Space Optical (FSO) networks are capable of providing low cost, high data rates, secure data transmission, and ease of implementation, without requiring complex optical ber cabling. Accordingly, they are well suited for uItra broadband last-mile application,residential services, cellular and WiFi backhaul.


Wireless RF Communication

Radio Frequency wireless communication solutions alleviate most of the disadvantages of a wired electrical connection. RF wireless solutions allow for indoor and short distance links to be established without any physical connection. However, these solutions remain relatively expensive, have low to medium data rates and require licensing. Some popular low cost RF links over distances of approximately 10m provide data rates of up to 1 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band for a cost near USD 5 per module [1]. Indoor links have also gained signicant popularity and provide data rates of approximately 50 Mbps. Radio frequency wireless links require that spectrum licensing fees are paid to federal regulatory bodies and those emissions are contained within strict spectral masks. These frequency allocations are determined by local authorities and may vary from country to country, making a standard interface dicult. In addition, the broadcast nature of the RF channel allows for mobile connectivity but creates problems with interference between devices communicating to a host in close proximity. Containment of electromagnetic energy at RF frequencies is dicult and if improperly done can impede system performance.


Overview of Free Space Optical Communication

Free space optical communication has emerged as a viable technology for next generation indoor and outdoor applications. Its applications range from short-range wireless communication links providing network access to portable computers, to last-mile links bridging gaps between end users and base station, and even laser communications in outer-space links. In applying indoor wireless communication, non-directed links, which do not require precise alignment between transmitter and receiver, are desirable. They can be categorized as either line-of-sight (LOS) or diuse links. LOS links require an unobstructed path for reliable communication, whereas diuse links rely on multiple optical paths from surface reections. On the other hand, outdoor wireless communication usually involves directed LOS and point-topoint laser links from transmitter to receiver through the atmosphere. FSO technology oers the potential of broadband communication capacity using unlicensed optical wavelengths. However,variations in the temperature and pressure of the atmosphere lead to refractive index variations along the transmission path. These refractive index variations, resulted optical intensity ucuations which at the end result in fading. In FSO communication, faded links caused by such atmospheric eects can cause performance degradation in terms of increased bit error rate (BER) and decrease in SNR. However, the LOS requirement for optical links reduces exibility in forming FSO communication networks. Compared with radio frequency (RF) networks, FSO networks do not have an obvious simple ability to distribute data and control information within the network.


Comparison of FSO and RF Communication

The main advantage of FSO networks are very high bandwidth availability and high data rates which could provide broadband wireless extensions to Internet backbones providing service to end-users. This could enable the delay-free web browsing and data library access, electronic commerce, streaming audio and video, videoon- demand, video teleconferencing, real-time medical imaging transfer, enterprise networking and work-sharing capabilities etc. FSO permits the use of narrow divergence, directional laser beams, which if deployed appropriately, oer essentially very secure channels with low probability of interception. However, like other technologies FSO has some drawbacks as well, Since a LOS link is required from transmitter to receiver, narrow beam point-to-point FSO links are subject to atmospheric turbulence and obscuration from clouds, fog,aerosoles, rain, and snow, causing performance degradation and possible loss of connectivity. FSO links can have a relatively short range, because the noise from ambient light is high, and also because the square-law nature of direct detection receiver doubles the eective path loss when compared to a linear detector.


FSO Communication System

The block diagram of a typical FSO link is shown in Fig 1.1 [3]. Like any other communication system, an FSO system essentially comprises the following three parts: transmitter, channel and receiver. Each one is discussed in detail in the following sections. diagram.jpg

Figure 1.1: Block Diagram of an FSO System



This block of an FSO communication sysetm performs eelctro-optical conversion. This process is performed usually by an LED or LD which convert the incoming information bearing signal to optical intensity I(t) in response to an electrical current x(t) , which is then propagated through the atmosphere to the receiver. The most widely used modulation type is the intensity modulation (IM), in which the source data is modulated onto the irradiance of the optical radiation. This is achieved by varying the driving current of the optical source directly in relation with the data to be transmitted or via an external modulator. 6

The use of an external modulator guarantees a higher data rate than direct modulation, but an external modulator has a nonlinear response. The transmitter telescope collects, collimates and directs the optical radiation towards the receiver telescope at the other end of the channel. The beam collimation process is also termed as beam forming and the optics used in this system are called beam forming optics.


Atmospheric Channel

An FSO communications channel is dierent from the conventional channel. In FSO system the signal x(t) represents power rather than amplitude. This leads to two constraints on the transmitted signal: i) x(t) must have positive amplitude; and ii) the average value of x(t) must not exceed a specied maximum power Pmax . In contrast to the conventional channels, where the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is proportional to the power, in optical systems the received electrical power and the variance of the shot noise are proportional to A2 and Ad , d respectively, where Ad is the receiver detector area. Thus, for a shot noise limited optical system, the SNR is proportional to Ad . This implies that for a given transmitted power, a higher SNR can be attained by using a large area detector. However, as Ad increases so does its capacitance, which has a limiting eect on the receiver bandwidth. The atmospheric channel consists of gases, and aerosols tiny particles suspended in the atmosphere. Also present in the atmosphere are rain, haze, fog and other forms of precipitation. The amount of precipitation present in the atmosphere depends on the location (longitude and latitude) and the season. The highest concentration of particles is obviously near the Earth surface within the troposphere and this decreases with increasing altitude up through to the ionosphere, an optical eld that traverses the atmosphere is scattered and absorbed resulting in power loss. For an optical radiation traversing the atmosphere, some of the photons are extinguished (absorbed) by the molecular constituents (water vapour, CO2, fog, ozone etc) and their energy converted into heat, while others experience no loss of energy but their initial directions of propagation are changed (scattering). The beam also spreads out while traversing the channel causing the size of the received beam to be greater than the receiver aperture.



Receiver is basically a device which perform opto-electrical conversion. The opto-electrical conversion is typically performed by a silicon photodiode. The photodiode detector is said to perform direct-detection of the incident optical intensity signal since it produces an output electrical photocurrent y(t) , nearly proportional to the received irradiance at the photodiode, in units of Watts per unit area. Electrically, the detector is a reversed biased diode. Thus, the photodiode detector produces an output electrical current which is a 7

measure of the optical power impinging on the device. The photodiode detector is often termed a square law device since the device can also be modeled as squaring the amplitude of the incoming electromagnetic signal and integrating over time to nd the intensity. The information bearing intensity signal which is transmitted must remain non-negative for all time since the transmitted power can physically never be negative. Receiver is composed of the following main parts. Receiver telescope It collects and focuses the incoming optical radiation onto the photodetector. It should be noted that a large receiver telescope aperture is desirable as it collects multiple uncorrelated radiations and focuses their average on the photodetector. This is referred to as aperture averaging but a wide aperture also means more background radiation/noise. Optical bandpass lter It is used to lter out the background radiation. Photodetector It is basically a p-i-n diode (PIN) or avalanche photodiode (APD) that converts the incident optical eld into an electrical signal. Post-detection processor/decision circuit This is where the required amplication, ltering and signal processing necessary to guarantee a high delity data recovery are carried out. Electrical ballast Electrical ballast is a device intended to limit the amount of current in an electric circuit. A familiar and widely used example is the inductive ballast used in uorescent lamps, to limit the current through the tube, which would otherwise rise to destructive levels due to the tubes negative resistance characteristic.


Semiconductor Lasers

One of the primary sources of light in modern optical systems is the semiconductor laser. Their basic principles and characteristics, such as their output beam prole, will be important in assessing their performance when used in a free space optical (FSO) system. For 8

optical communication applications single mode lasers are preferred, which contain only single longitudinal and transverse modes. To accommodate this requirement, laser congurations having a built-in frequency selective reector are developed. Two common types of such lasers are: distributed feedback (DFB) lasers and distributed Bragg reector (DBR) lasers. In DFB lasers, a Bragg grating formed along the cavity causes strong reection at a certain wavelength, resulting in oscillation on a single mode with a narrower line width ( 0.1 nm). Therefore, no mode hoping occurs, so there is much less RIN. For the DBR lasers, the gratings are located at the ends of the active layer; hence no currents pass through the Bragg reector regions. As a result, DBR lasers provide stable, tunable single mode operation while their other characteristics are similar to DFB lasers.

Chapter 2 Optical Detection Technique

Photodetection is the process of converting information-bearing optical radiation into its equivalent electrical signal with the aim of recovering the transmitted information. At the transmitter, the information can be encoded on the frequency, phase or the intensity of the radiation from an optical source. This encoded radiation is then transmitted to the receiver via the free-space channel or the optical bre. The receiver front-end devices (telescope and optical lter) focus the ltered radiation onto the photodetecting surface in the focal plane. Depending on whether a local oscillator is used during the detection process or not, the following photodetection techniques are possible.


Direct Detection

This is a non-coherent receiver model also known as power detecting receiver or direct detecting receiver. In this model the information is intensity modulated onto an optical source and transmitted through atmospheric channel to the receiver. Here, a local oscillator is not used in the detection process and for this type of receiver to recover the encoded information, it is essential that the transmitted information be associated with the intensity variation of the transmitted eld. Hence this type of detection is also called envelope detection. For an instantaneous incident powerP (t), the instantaneous photodetector current I(t) is given by [6]. q gP (t) hc

I(t) =


where g is the photodetector gain factor whose value is unity for a PIN photodetector and is the quantum eciency of a photodetector. The block diagram of the direct detection receiver is illustrated in Fig 2.1 [6]. 10

Figure 2.1: Block Diagram of Direct Detection Receiver


Coherent detection

The coherent receiver works on the photo-mixing phenomenon. An optical oscillator is used to generate optical radiation at certain frequency. The incoming optical eld is mixed with another locally generated optical eld on the surface of the photodetector. The coherent receiver can be further divided into homodyne and heterodyne receivers. The block diagram of a coherent receiver is shown in Fig. 2.2 [3]. It is pertinent to clarify that the term coherent detection in optical detection is not synonymous with coherent detection in radio frequency (RF) parlance. In contrast to RF coherent detection, the output of the local oscillator in optical coherent detection is not required to have the same phase as the incoming radiation.

Homodyne Detection In homodyne receivers the frequency/wavelength of the local (optical) oscillator is exactly the same as that of the incoming radiation. The resultant photocurrent thus contains the information signal at the baseband. Hetrodyne Detection In heterodyne detection the incoming radiation and the local oscillator frequencies are different. In this process optical receiver, the incoming radiation (carrier) is combined with a reference wave from a local oscillator on the photodetector surface. This optical mixing process produces another wave at an intermediate frequency (IF) which is the dierence between the incoming laser carrier and the reference signal frequencies [7]. Assuming that 11

Figure 2.2: Block Diagram of Coherent Detection Receiver the electric elds of the carrier of frequency wco , and that of the reference (local) radiation of frequency wL are respectively given by [3]. Ec (t) = Ac cos(co + c ) EL (t) = AL cos(L + L ) (2.2) (2.3)

where Ac and c are the amplitude and phase of the carrier eld respectively while the local oscillator amplitude and phase are AL and L in that order. When the instantaneous eld amplitudes, Ec (t) and EL (t) combine on the photodetector surface, they produce an instantaneous signal whose intensity is given by [3]. C(t) = (Ec (t) + EL (t))2 (2.4)

The time average of C(t) multiplied by the responsivity R gives the resultant instantaneous carrier and local oscillator current,ip (t), at the photodetector output. i(t) = RC(t) (2.5) By expanding equation 2.4 we get four terms, two of them are DC and time invarient, third term is time varient while the fourth term is out of the intermediate frequency range [7]. There fore the IF lter will only pass the 3rd term while supressing the rest of the terms. Thus the hetrodyne reciever oers: (1)A relatively easy means of amplifying the photocurrent by simply increasing the local oscillator power. (2)Improved signal-to-noise ratio. This is achieved by increasing the local oscillator power so much that its inherent shot noise dwarfs the thermal and the shot noise from other sources 12


Receiver Field of View

The eld-of-view (FOV) of a receiver is the extent of solid-angles from which light is detected at the receiver. Narrow FOV links are able to reject a large component of ambient light. The resulting noise can still be modeled as being Gaussian distributed but dependent on the transmitted signal. In the case of wide FOV receivers the ambient light dominates the received signal. As a result the noise at the receiver can be approximated as being independent of the transmitted data. In this case the noise is modeled as additive signal independent white Gaussian with zero mean and variance. This situation is in contrast to optical bers where the ambient light is essentially zero and circuit noise is the dominant noise factor. The use of an APD is advantageous in ber applications as long as the circuit noise is much greater than the added shot noise of the APD. Emissions from uorescent lighting create a noise source unique to wireless optical channels.



The incoming signal at the receiver contains the least power. The two primary sources of noise at the receiver front end are due to noise from the receive electronics and shot noise from the received DC photocurrent. As is the case with all electronics noise is generated due to the random motion of carriers in resistive and active devices. Sources of noise in an optical receiver are: 1. Shot noise (photo-electric conversion) 2. Thermal noise(Amplier circuitry) 3. Dark current noise(amplier base current in the absence of incident light) 4. Background illumination noise


Thermal noise

Thermal noise, also called Johnson noise or Nyquist noise is generated independently of the received signal and can be modeled as having a Gaussian distribution. This noise is shaped by a transfer function dependent on the topology of the pre-amplier. Circuit noise is modeled as being Gaussian distributed and in general non-white. Then the mean-square current amplitude of the Johnson noise i2 is given by [8]; JN < i2 > = JN 4kT f R

(2.6) f , K is the Boltz-

Where R is the resistance which is constant within the bandwidth mann constant, and T is the absolute temperature. 13


Shot noise

Photo-generated shot noise is a major noise source in the wireless optical link. Probabilistic generation and transport of carriers due to quantum eects in the photodiode gives rise to shot noise in the photocurrent as illustrated in Figure 2.8. This random process can be modeled as having Poisson distribution with a white power spectral density. The photogenerated shot noise at the receiver arises due to both the ambient light and the transmitted signal. The mean square current amplitude of shot noise for a photo detector which can handle a bandwidth f can be given by [8]; < i2 > = 2qis f SN


So shot noise depends on the following factors: 1. Average photo current 2. Received signal bandwidth 3. Electron charge In the case of APD in addition to the primary source of shot noise, there is a noise gure associated with the excess noise generated by the random avalanche process. Noise Figure This noise gure F (M ) is dened as the ratio of the actual noise generated in an avalanche photodiode to the noise that would exists if all carrier pairs were multiplied by exactly M (where M is the multiplication number for APD) and is given by [8]; F (M ) = < m2 > M2 (2.8)

Where < m2 >is the mean square gain. Thus, the mean- square current amplitude of the shot noise for APD is; < i2 >AP D = 2qM 2 F (M )is f = 2qM F (M )iM f SN (2.9)

Where iM is the average value of multiplied current is, iS is the average value of unmultiplied current and M is the APD multiplicative factor given as; M = iM iS (2.10)



Background illumination noise

The dominant source of noise in a wireless optical channel is due to the ambient background light. To reduce the impact of ambient light optical lters can be used to attenuate lower wavelength visible and higher frequency light sources with little added cost. In some links this ambient light may be as much as 25 dB greater than the signal power even after optical ltering. Many wireless optical links operate in this shot-noise limited regime due to the intense. Background illumination. In these cases the ambient light shot noise component dominates the shot noise due to the received signal as well as the circuit noise. Using this assumption the resulting noise of the channel is signal independent white shot noise following a Poisson distribution. This high intensity shot noise is the result of the summation of many independent Poisson distributed random variables. In the limit as the number of random variables summed approaches innity the cumulative distribution function approaches a Gaussian distribution by the central limit theorem. Thus the dominant noise source in many indoor wireless optical channels can be modeled as being white signal independent and having a Gaussian distribution. The characteristics of the noise depend on the conguration of the link.


Dark current noise

The dark current is the photocurrent generated when no photon is impinging on the photodetector. It is produced by the transition of electrons from the valence to the conduction band due to causes other than photon-induced excitation; its magnitude is closely related to the energy band-gap of the photodetector material(s). Large band-gap materials, such as Silicon (Si), Indium phosphide (InP) and Gallium arsenide (GaAs) show very low values of mean dark current, while for Germanium (Ge), the value could be signicant when they are operated at room temperature.


White noise

White noise: White noise is a random signal (or process) with a at power spectral density. In other words, the signal contains equal power within a xed bandwidth at any center frequency. White noise draws its name from white light in which the power spectral density of the light is distributed over the visible band in such a way that the eyes three color receptors (cones) are approximately equally stimulated. In a more mathematically rigorous fashion it is possible to show that the moment generating function of high intensity shot noise approaches a Gaussian distribution at high intensities. In the case of photodiodes under high illumination and small excess noise factors which is the case for silicon photodiodes is large. In this case the resulting noise distribution tends to a Gaussian distribution.



Signal-to-Noise Ratio in Direct Detection

This is the ratio of detector signal power to the total noise power. For a direct detection receiver the signal power is very large as compared to the noise power due to the dark current and background illumination. By ignoring these and considering shot and Johnson noise the SNR for a direct detection receiver is [4]; i2 S 2 N
4kT f R

0,DD = =

(2.11) i2 S + 2qis f (2.12)

For a shot noise limited channel the SNR is: 0,DDSN L = iS PR = 2q f 2hv f (2.13)


Bit Error Rates in FSO links

Bit-Error-Rate (BER) depends on average received power, the scintillation (ash) over the aperture, and the receiver noise. It also depends on the receiver decision level. The atmosphere uctuates relatively slowly; in fact, there is not much uctuation on time scales below about 1ms. Consequently, at high data rates, large numbers of bits are transmitted through a channel that is in a frozen state, but for successive groups of bits the characteristics of the channel slowly change. Consequently, the BER is constantly changing due to such uctuations caused by atmospheric turbulence. In the absence of atmospheric turbulence the BER can be calculated considering the errors result from the receiver noise. In the presence of turbulence intensity uctuations should be considered in the BER calculations. These uctuations are only evident for a received one because the received zero has no signal. There are several techniques for detecting the signal which mainly depends on a threshold device Fig 2.3. [4] 1. Receiver output greater threshold value (signal is received) 2. Receiver output less threshold value (missed detection) 3. Noise power greater the threshold value (False alarms occur)


Channel Topologies

The characteristics of the FSO channel can vary depending on the topology of the channel. In this section four popular wireless optical channel topologies and discussed. 16

Figure 2.3: Probability of error and false alarm


Point-to-Point Links

Point-to-point wireless optical links operate when there is a direct unobstructed path between a transmitter and a receiver Fig 2.4 [2]. A link is established when the transmitter is oriented toward the receiver. In narrow eld-of-view applications this oriented conguration allows the receiver to reject ambient light and achieve high data rates and low path loss. The main disadvantage of this link topology is that it requires pointing and is sensitive to blocking and shadowing


Space division multiplexing

Space division multiplexing is a technique by which a transmitter outputs dierent data in dierent spatial directions to allow for the simultaneous use of one wavelength by multiple users. In one such system a ceiling-mounted base station has a number of narrow beams establishing point-to-point links in a variety of directions in a room. A xed receiver once aligned to within 1 of a transmitter beam establishes a high speed link at up to 50 Mb/s [9]. Another means of implementing a space division multiplexing system is to use a tracked optical wireless architecture. In this system the transmitter beams are steerable under the control of a tracking subsystem. Tracking is typically accomplished by a beacon LED or FM transmitter on the mobile terminal. These systems are proposed to provide 155 Mb/s ATM access to mobile terminals in a room [10, 11, 12]. The advantage of this topology


Figure 2.4: A point to point FSO system is that it is extremely power ecient and supports a large aggregate bandwidth inside of a room at the expense of system complexity.


Diuse Links

Diuse transmitters radiate optical power over a wide solid angle in order to ease the pointing and shadowing problems of point-to-point links Fig 2.5 [2]. This aords user terminals a wide degree of mobility at the expense of a high path loss. These channels however suer not only from optoelectronic bandwidth constraints but also from low-pass multipath distortion [13, 14, 15]. Thus the large size of the photodiode relative to the wavelength of light provides a degree of spatial diversity which eliminates multipath fading. Multipath distortion gives rise to a channel bandwidth limit of approximately 10-200 MHz depending on room layout shadowing and link conguration.


Quasi-Diuse Links

Quasi-diuse links inherit aspects of both point-to-point and diuse links to optimize link throughput [16, 17]. The transmitter illuminates the ceiling with a series of slowly diverging beam sources which illuminate a grid of spots on the ceiling Fig 2.6 [2]. The transmit beams suer a small path loss nearly independent of the length of the link from the transmitter to the ceiling due to the low beam divergence. The receiver consists of multiple concentra18

Figure 2.5: A diuse FSO system tor/photodiode pairs each with a non-overlapping narrow FOV of the ceiling. These narrow FOV receivers reject a majority of multipath distortion and provide a link with an improved bandwidth although the link is more sensitive to shadowing relative to diuse links.


Comparison of Channel Topologies

The following table presents a comparison of some of the characteristics of the three channel topologies discussed. The point-to-point topology is a low complexity means to achieve high data rate links at the expense of mobility and pointing requirements. Diuse links suer from high path loss but oer a great degree of mobility and robustness to blocking. Quasidiuse links permit higher data rates by requiring users to aim their receivers at the ceiling but suer from a higher implementation cost due to the multi-beam transmitter. Thus each channel topology is suited to a dierent application depending on required data rates and channel conditions. It may also be advantageous to combine the operation of the various topologies to form a more robust link. The detail comparison of the three most comonly used topologies is given in Table 2.7 [2].


Figure 2.6: A Quasi diuse FSO system

Figure 2.7: Comparison of Channel Topologies


Chapter 3 Modulation Schemes

There are many dierent types of modulation schemes which are suitable for optical wireless communication systems. It is very desirable for the modulation scheme to be power ecient, but this is however not the only deciding factor in the choice of a modulation technique. The design complexity of its transmitter and receiver and the bandwidth requirement of the modulation scheme are all equally important.


On-O Keying

The simplest type of binary modulation scheme is OOK. In an active high OOK encoding, a one is coded as a pulse, while a zero is coded as no pulse or o eld. To restrict the complexity of the modulator, the pulse shape is chosen to be rectangular. The bit rate is 1 denoted as Rb = Tb where Tb is the bit duration; and is directly related to the rate at which the source can be switched on and o. The normalized transmit pulse shape for OOK can be described as [18].


In the demodulator the received pulse is integrated over one bit period then sampled and compared to a threshold value to decide whether a one or zero bit. Because of detector noise, errors may be made in determining the actual symbols transmitted. In OOK system the random noise can be approximated as Gaussian distribution. Assume both symbol have identical noise variance and equally likely to be transmitted the threshold level is set halfway between the symbol currents, then the BER for an OOK system is [4, 19]. 1 1 is 1 erf c( ) = erf c( 0 ) 2 2 2 2N 2 2

P r(e)OOK =


Where 0 is the SNR for direct detection receiver and erf c(x) is the complementary error function.


Pulse Position Modulation

In block encoding, bits are transmitted in blocks instead of one at a time. Optical block encoding is achieved by converting each word of l bits into one of L = 2l optical elds for transmission. One of the most commonly used optical block encoding schemes is PPM, where an input word is converted into the position of a rectangular pulse within a frame. The PPM modulation technique improves on the power eciency of OOK but at the expense of an increased bandwidth requirement and greater complexity. The frame with duration Tf is divided into L slots and only one of these slots contains a pulse. This scheme can also be denoted as L P P M , in order to emphasize the choice of L. The transmit pulse shape for L P P M is given by [18].


The bit rate for a PPM intensity signal is [6]. L Tf

Rb = log2


The optimum L P P M receiver consists of a lter bank, each integrating the photocurrent in one pulse interval. The demodulated pulse is taken to originate from the slot in which the most current level was found. If the demodulated pulse position is the correct pulse position, log2L bits are decoded correctly. Otherwise, we assume that all L 1 wrong position are equally likely to occur. Therefore bit errors usually occur in groups. The BER for a PPM encoding is given in [4]. 1 1 erf c[ 2 2 2 L log2 L0 ] 2

P r(e)P P M =


Substituting L = 2 yields the BER for Manchester signals, which is identical to the BER of OOK modulation. A PPM receiver will require both slot and symbol synchronization in order to demodulate the information encoded on the pulse position. Nevertheless, because of its superior power eciency, PPM is an attractive modulation technique for optical wireless communication systems particularly in deep space laser communication applications.


Sub Carrier Intensity Modulation

It is found that atmospheric turbulence induced channel fading will require the OOK threshold detector to have the knowledge of the channel fading strength and noise levels if the detection error is to be reduced to its barest minimum. This poses a serious design diculty that can be circumvented by employing phase shift keying (PSK) pre-modulated SIM. It is proved by experiments [3] that for a binary PSK-SIM based FSO system the symbol detection threshold level does not require the knowledge of the channel fading strength or noise level. As such, the threshold level is xed at the zero mark in the presence or absence of atmospheric turbulence. Other reasons for studying the subcarrier intensity modulated FSO systems include: (1) It benets from already developed and evolved RF communication components such as stable oscillators and narrow lters [21] (2) It avoids the need for an adaptive threshold required by optimum performing OOK modulated FSO [20] (3) It can be used to increase capacity by accommodating data from dierent users on different subcarriers 23

(4) It has comparatively lower bandwidth requirement than the PPM. There are however some challenges in the implementation of SIM, these are: (1) High transmitter power because the optical source is ON during the transmission of both one and zero. (2) The possibility of signal distortions due to: inherent laser non-linearity and signal clipping due to over-modulation (3) Stringent synchronization requirements at the receiver side It is therefore worthwhile to mention that multiple-SIM is only recommended when the quest for higher capacity/users outweighs the highlighted challenges or where FSO is to be integrated into existing networks that already contain multiple RF carriers.


SIM generation and Detection

In optical SIM links an RF subcarrier signal, m(t), pre-modulated with the source data, d(t), is used to modulate the intensity PT of the optical source - a continuous wave laser diode. Fig 3.1 illustrates the system block diagram of a SIM-FSO with N subcarriers [3]. The serial-to-parallel converter distributes the incoming data across the N subcarriers. Each subcarrier carries a reduced symbol rate but the aggregate must be equal to the symbol rate of d(t). Since the subcarrier signal, m(t), is sinusoidal, having both positive and negative values, a DC level b0 is added to m(t) before it is used to directly drive the laser diode to avoid any signal clipping. The general expression for N-SIM-FSO is [3].

m(t) =

mi (t)


Each RF subcarrier signal is represented as [3]. m(t) = g(t)aic cos(wci t + i ) + g(t)ais cos(wci t + i ) (3.5)

Where g(t) is the pulse shaping function. After detection at the receiver the optical intensity signal is converted into electrical current, followed by a standard RF demodulator.


Comparison of Modulation Technique

The choice of modulation technique involves a balance between simplicity, power eciency and bandwidth eciency. In view of the BER oor experienced in OOK, the poor bandwidth 24

Figure 3.1: Block Diagram of SIM-FSO System: (a) Transmitter (b) Receiver eciency of PPM and the requisite slot and symbol synchronisation requirements, the focus in this work will be on SIM. However, this does suer from poor power eciency due to its high peak to average power ratio. Table 3.2 illustrates the comparison of three basic modulation schemes used in FSO communication [3].


Figure 3.2: comparison of FSO modulation schemes


Power Eciency

To compare dierent modulation schemes power eciency is one of the important factors to consider. It can be derived easily from BER expressions. Fig 3.3 shows the BER performance of OOK, for both NRZ and RZ, and L-PPM for L =2, 4, and 8. It is fairly obvious that 8-PPM has the best BER performance, and hence is the most power ecient scheme. The power requirement for a given BER value Pe for both OOK and L-PPM schemes is given in [18]. N POOK = 2 2 erf c1 (2Pe ) R N L PP P M = 2 2 ( log2 L)0.5 )erf c1 (2Pe ) = R 2 Thus it is evident that L P P M requires a factor of obtain a particular BER performance. 26
L log2 L 2

(3.6) POOK
L log2 L 2


less power than OOK to

Figure 3.3: Comparison of power eciency of OOK and PPM


Bandwidth Eciency

It is the ratio between BER and the required bandwidth. The bandwidth required for modulation can be estimated from the rst zero of the transmitted signals power spectrum. Fig 3.4 illustrates the spectral density envelope (without the Dirac impulses) of the transmitted signals for OOK and LPPM. Note that only positive frequency is shown and the frequency is normalized to the bit rate Rb . The required BW for OOK is Breq = Rb and for L-PPM LR is Breq = log2b [18]. Thus, the bandwidth eciency of L P P M can be shown to be at L least 1.9 times worse than OOK. To conclude, the comparison results are also summarized in table.


Figure 3.4: Comparison of Bandwidth eciency of OOK and PPM


Chapter 4 Atmospheric Channel

In FSO communication links, absorption of the beam by the atmosphere can be important, especially in adverse weather conditions of fog, snow, heavy rain, or obscuration. The combined eects of direct absorption and scattering of laser light can be described by a single path-dependent attenuation coecient (z). The power received at receiver can easily be calculated for links without signicant turbulence eects. The received power for a receiver with receiver area A, range L, and beam divergence angle is given by [4]: PR = A exp(L)PT 2 L2 (4.1)

Where PT is the transmitted power, and in this case is a constant value averaged over the propagation path L. The received power can be increased by increasing the transmitter power, the receiver area, or by reducing the beam divergence of the transmitter beam, which is diraction limited. When turbulence eects are included, the eects of the atmosphere are in a sense more subtle (dicult to perceive). This optical turbulence is caused almost exclusively by temperature variations in the atmosphere, resulting in random variations of refractive index. An optical wave propagating through the atmospheric turbulence will experience random amplitude and phase uctuations, which will generate a number of eects: breakup of the beam into distinct patches of uctuating illumination, wander of the centroid of the beam, and increase in the beam width over the expected diraction limit. For longer links, the problems presented by atmospheric turbulence are quite severe, since the average power received at the FSO receiver will decrease even more. Besides power loss, the atmosphere may also distort the optical wave shape during propagation through dense clouds. This is particularly true for transmission of high power, narrow optical pulses, in which the atmospheric scattering can cause pulse broadening through multipath eects. Scattered pulse elds may be reected toward the receiver and still have appreciable energy to produce a distorted optical pulse shape. If an optical pulse is transmitted from the source, the pulse 29

signals along the scattered paths arrive with delays relative to the direct path and combine to yield a wider, broadened optical eld pulse from that transmitted. The sources which eect Optical wave propagation in atmosphere are: 1. Scattering 2. Absorption(By the constituents gases and molecules) 3. Refractive index uctuations(Optical Turbulence) The rst two results in the attenuation of the laser beam while the third one causes the intensity uctuations of the receiver, beam broadening


Molecular Absorption and Scattering

Absorption occurs when a photon of radiation is absorbed by a gaseous molecule of the atmosphere, which converts the photon into kinetic energy or re-radiates it. Thus, absorption is a mechanism by which the atmosphere is heated. It is a strong function of wavelength where it is severe in ultraviolet wavelengths (below 200nm) and a very little absorption occur at visible wavelengths (400 to 700). Similar to absorption scattering is also wavelength dependent. For particles having small size than the wavelength will produce Rayleigh scattering which is very pronounced at ultraviolet and visible wavelengths, for wavelengths greater than 3um scattering is almost nonexistent. Types of scattering 1. Rayleigh scattering(particles small in size than the wavelengths) 2. Mie scattering(having comparable size) 3. Geometrical optics(particles having bigger size than wavelengths) Scattering and absorption can be combined and described by a single attenuation factor [6] . () = A () + S () (4.2)

The transmittance of laser radiation that is propagated a distance L is related to the attenuation coecient as follows [6]; = exp[()L] (4.3)

Absorption and scattering are deterministic eects and can be predicted by variety of conditions.



Atmospheric Turbulence

The local density of the atmosphere is constantly uctuating because of temperature and pressure uctuations. This is atmospheric turbulence. When a laser beam propagates through the atmosphere the randomly varying spatial distribution of refractive index that it encounters causes a number of eects. These include: Beam steering Angular deviation of the beam from its original LOS causing the beam to miss the receiver. Image dancing The received beam focus moves in the image plane due to variations in the beams angle of arrival. Beam spreading Increased beam divergence due to scattering. This leads to a reduction in received power density. Beam scintillation Variations in the spatial power density at the receiver plane caused by small scale destructive interference within the optical beam. Spatial coherence degradation Turbulence also induces losses in phase coherence across the beam phase fronts. This is particularly deleterious for photo mixing (e.g. in coherent receiver) Polarization uctuation This results from changes in the state of polarisation of the received optical eld after passing through a turbulent medium. However for a horizontally travelling optical radiation, the amount of polarisation uctuation is negligible. Winds, which move the atmosphere in a more correlated way, can cause the centroid of the beam to shift, but they do not intrinsically randomize the laser beam as does turbulence. It can be compensated with a beam-steering scheme at the transmitter.



Optical Turbulence

Optical turbulence is the temperature variations which result in refractive index uctuations of the laser beam. In the visible and near infrared region these uctuations are exclusively due to temperature variations while in far infrared region humidity uctuations also come into account. The refractive index n at any point r in the atmosphere is approximated as [4]; n(r) = 1 + 79 106 P (r) T (r) (4.4)

Where P is the pressure in mille bars and T is the temperature in Kelvin. Optical turbulence can be characterized by three parameters. (1) Outer scale L0 (the largest cell size at which turbulent energy is injected into a region) (2) Inner scale l0 (the smallest cell size before energy is dissipated into heat) 2 (3) Structure parameter of refractive index uctuations Cn . This is basically the strength of the optical turbulence, and the most critical parameter in characterizing atmospheric turbulence. Under statistically homogeneous and isotropic conditions, the refractive index structure function Dn is [22];
2 Dn (r) = < [n(0) n(r)]2 >= Cn r 3


where r is the separation between two points in space.


Optical depth

The product of propagation length L to the attenuation coecient is known as optical depth. OD = L (4.6)


P I +N

SINR is Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio that is calculated as: SIN R = (4.7)

where P is signal power, I is interference power and N is noise power. SIN R is commonly used in wireless communication as a way to measure the quality of wireless connections. Typically, the energy of a signal fades with distance. In wireless networks, this is commonly dened by path loss. 32


Gaussian beam

The transverse modes of a laser system take the form of narrow beams of light that propagate between the mirrors of the laser resonator and maintain a eld distribution that remains distributed around and near the axis of the system. While there are many solutions to this problem, it turns out that the simplest solution is called a Gaussian beam, which is appropriate to the laser under ordinary conditions. These beams have a characteristic radial intensity prole that expands laterally as they propagate. Gaussian beams are special solutions to the electromagnetic wave equation, which are restricted under paraxial conditions. The free space propagation of a single mode laser beam can be modeled as the lowest order Gaussian beam wave, also called a T EM 00 wave. Assuming the source is located at z = 0, the eld distribution of this fundamental mode at z = L is given by [23]. U (r, L) = U0 1 jk w0 exp[j(kL ) r2 ( 2 + )] wL wL 2RL (4.8)

Where r is the transverse distance from the beam center, 0 is the minimum spot size, is the phase shift, and k = 2 is the wave number. The beam parameters, L and RL , are the spot size and the radius of curvature of phase front at L, respectively. They are dened as [23].;
2 2 wL = w0 [1 + (

L 2 )] 2 w0



2 w0 2 = L[1 + ( )] L


Thus, the form of the fundamental Gaussian beam is uniquely determined once the minimum spot size and its location are specied. The spot size is the transverse distance at which the eld amplitude is down by a factor 1/e compared to its value on the axis. The minimum spot size is the beam spot size at the plane z = 0.


Beam divergence

The angle between the asymptotes and the propagation axis is called beam divergence and is a measure of the angular beam spread. For an optical wave, the divergence is typically small and the half angle divergence B can be written as [4]; B = 33 w0 (4.11)

The intensity of the optical wave is the squared magnitude of the eld. Thus, the intensity distribution of the beam at z = L can be written as [6].; I(r, L) = I0
2 2r2 w0 exp( 2 ) 2 wL wL



Beam Forming Optics

These are combination of converging and diverging lenses which orient the light into particular directions. It is used to form a collimation beam. This optics is useful mainly in long range FSO links. The converging lens focuses the light source to a point and the diverging lens expands it to a perfect beam. The beam collimation process is shown in Fig 4.1. The beam Diameter DL is given by [6]; DL = D0 [1 + ( 2B L 2 1 ) ]2 D0 (4.13)

Where D0 is the output lens diameter, L is the distance from the lens, and B is the transmitter beam angle. The advantage of beam forming can be emphasized by converting to an eective antenna gain parameter. From radio frequency (RF) theory, the eective antenna gain GA can be written as [6]; GA = 4 4 = 2 B B (4.14)

Where B is the two dimensional solid angle. This is inversely proportional to the beam angle. For optical wavelengths, the beam angle is typically on the order of a few mrad, which corresponds to an antenna gain of 65 dB. This is a signicant advantage compared to RF transmitters with typical beams on the order of degrees, which gives an antenna gain of about 40 dB. For short range links, in order to obtain Omni directionality, the optical light needs to emerge over a wider angle, but at the expense of rapid beam expansion with distance.


SNR and BER for Atmospheric Turbulence

In the presence of atmospheric turbulence the average power at the receiver is a random quantity, in this case the mean or averaged power at the receiver is given by [6]: < PR > = PR 2 D < I(0, L) >= 2 5 8 1 + 1.331 A 6 34 (4.15)

Figure 4.1: Beam Collimation in long range FSO systems For an atmospheric turbulent channel the output current is also a random variable which 2 2 2 has the mean value < iS > and variance i = S + N , where;
2 2 S = < i2 > < is >2 =< is >2 I s


Where I is the Irradiance uctuation variance. The average SNR at the output of the detector in the presence of atmospheric turbulence is shown in Fig 4.2 [6] and can be written as: < 0 > = < iS >2 0 = 2 2 5 2 i (1 + 1.33I A 6 )2 + 0 I (4.17)

Similarly the BER for an atmospheric turbulent channel should also be recalculated to consider the intensity uctuations. In this case, the threshold level is now set to half the average signal corresponding to a received pulse [6]: < iS > 2 The false alarm probability is given by [24]: iT = 1 1 Pf = Pr (0, 1) erf c( 2 2 2 Similarly the miss probability is: 2iS 1 1 1] Pm = Pr (0, 1) erf c([ 2 < iS > 2 2 < 0 >) (4.20) < 0 >) (4.18)


Where iS is the random detector signal, to obtain average BER these equations must be averaged over the intensity uctuation channel: 35

Figure 4.2: SNR comparison in the presence of atmospheric turbulence


Chapter 5 Application and Future work of FSO Technology

5.1 Application of FSO Technology

Last mile access FSO is used to bridge the bandwidth gap that exists between the end-users and the ber optic backbone. Links ranging from 50 m up to a few km are readily available in the market with data rates covering 1 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Optical ber back up link Used to provide back-up against loss of data or communication breakdown in the event of damage or unavailability of the main optical ber link. Cellular communication back-haul Can be used to back-haul trac between base stations and switching centers in the 3rd/4th generation (3G/4G) networks, as well as transporting IS-95 code division multiple access (CDMA) signals from macro and micro-cell sites to the base stations. Disaster recovery/Temporary links The technology nds application where a temporary link is needed, be it for a conference or ad-hoc connectivity in the event of a collapse of an existing communication network.


Multi-campus communication network FSO has found applications in interconnecting campus networks and providing back-up links at Fast-Ethernet or Gigabit-Ethernet speeds. Dicult terrains FSO is an attractive data bridge in such instances as across a river, a very busy street, rail tracks or where right of way is not available or too expensive to pursue. High denition television In view of the huge bandwidth requirement of high denition cameras and television signals, FSO is increasingly being used in the broadcast industry to transport live signals from high denition cameras in remote locations to a central oce.


Future Recommendation

Radio over FSO (RoFSO) This, potentially, will provide interesting ndings regarding the integration of FSO with radio over ber signals and cable television networks. This RoFSO experiment, which is in principle a multiple subcarrier system, can further prove the suitability/viability of subcarrier modulated FSO as a tool for increasing communication systems capacity and/or throughput Pulse interval modulated FSO An investigation of pulse interval modulated FSO systems in turbulent channels will be recommended. In pulse interval modulation, the data is encoded on the interval between pulses; this technique might provide an alternative solution for the complex symbol decision circuit needed for an optimum OOK-FSO system in turbulent atmospheric channels. Hybrid FSO/RF communication The availability of FSO, especially links longer than 1 km, depends so much on the atmospheric weather conditions. The attainment of 99.99


Polarisation shift keying modulated FSO It has been reported that a turbulent atmospheric channel does not result in change of polarisation state of a traversing eld [3]. This fact can be explored by encoding data on the polarisation state of an optical beam. The polarisation modulation technique has been studied in bre communication systems but is not very attractive in that area because an optical bre causes random changes in the polarisation state of an optical beam travelling through it.


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