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Chapter 8

Basic System Design

System factors for designing from scratch: Design Verification
Factor Available choices
Type of fiber Single mode, multimode, plastic
Dispersion Repeaters, compensation
Fiber nonlinearities Fiber characteristics, wavelengths
used, transmitter power
Operating wavelength 780, 850, 1310, 1550, 1625 nm
(band) typical
Transmitter power ~0.1 to 20 mw typical; usually
expressed in dBm
Light source LED, laser
Receiver characteristics Sensitivity, overload
Multiplexing scheme None, CWDM, DWDM
System factors (continued)
Factor Available choices
Detector type PIN diode, APD, IDP
Modulation scheme OOK, multilevel, coherent
End-end bit error rate <10-9 typical; may be much lower
Signal-to-noise ratio Specified in dB for major stages
Max number of Loss increases with number of
connectors connectors
Max number of splices Loss increases with number of
Environmental Humidity, temperature, sunlight
Mechanical Flammability, strength,
Optical link loss budget
• Key calculations in designing a simple fiber optic
• Objective is to determine launch power and
receiver sensitivity
• Variables
– Environmental and aging
– Connector losses
– Cable losses
– Splices
– Amplifier
– Other components
 The basic system design verification can be done through:

1- Power budget: The Ratio of PT/PR expressed in dB is the amount

of acceptable loss that can be incurred.
2- Rise time budget: A rise-time budget analysis is a convenient
method to determine the dispersion limitation of an optical link.

 The power budget involves the power level calculations from

the transmitter to the receiver.
1. Attenuation 5. SNR requirements
2. Coupled power 6. Minimum power at
3. Other losses detector
4. Equalization penalty 7. BER
(DL) 8. Safety margin (Ma)
The system margin can be expressed as:
Ma= PT(dBm)-PR(dBm)- system loss.
A (+)positive system margin ensures proper operation of the circuit.
A (-) negative value indicates that insufficient power will be reach
the detector to achieve the required BER.

The optical power budget is then assembled taking into account

ALL these parameters.

Pi = (Po + CL + Ma + DL) dBm

where Pi = mean input power launched in the fiber

Po = mean optical power required at the receiver
CL = total channel loss
DL =dispersion-equalization or ISI penalty,

*The sensitivity of the detector is the minimum detectable power.

 Risetime budget includes the

1. Risetime of the source, TS

2. Risetime of the fiber (dispersion),
3. Risetime of the amplifier, TA
4. Risetime of the detector, TD
The risetime budget is assembled as:

Tsyst = 1.1(TS2 + TF2 + TD2 + TA2)1/2

For non-return-to-zero (NRZ) data

0 .7
Tsyst 
For return-to zero (RZ) data

Tsyst 
Example 8.1
We need to design a digital link to connect two points 10-km apart.
The bit rate needed is 30Mb/s with BER = 10-12.
Determine whether the components listed are suitable for the link.
Source: LED 820nm GaAsAl; couples 12µW into 50µm
fiber; risetime 11ns

Fiber: Step Index fiber; 50µm core; NA = 0.24; 5.0

dB/km loss; dispersion 1ns/km; 4 connectors with
1.0dB loss per connector

Detector: PIN photodiode; R = 0.38A/W; Cj = 1.5pF,

Id = 10pA; risetime = 3.5ns; minimum mean optical
power = - 86dBm

Calculate also the SNR of the link if RL given is 5.3kΩ

Solution :
For this example, 3 factors need to be considered:
a) Bandwidth
b) Power levels
c) Error rate (SNR)

Risetime Budget
We start with the risetime budget. Assume using NRZ
coding, the system risetime is given by:
0.7 0.7
Tsyst   6
 23.3ns
BT 30 x10

Tsyst = 1.1(TS2 + TF2 + TD2)1/2

Now we can assemble the total system risetime:

Total system risetime = 23.3 ns

Risetime of the source, TS = 11.0ns
Risetime of the fiber (dispersion), TF 10 x 1.0ns = 10.0ns

Allowance for the detector risetime, TD

 Tsys 
TD     TF  TS  15.09ns
2 2

 1.1 
Power Budget

Total power launched into fiber = -19dBm

Losses: Fiber attenuation 5dB/km x 10 = 50dB
4 connectors 1dB x 4 = 4dB

Power available at detector =[( -19dBm – 50dB- 4dB)] = -73 dBm

Since power available at the detector is –73 dBm, the sensitivity of
the detector must be less than this.
The safety margin, Ma = -73-(-86) dB
= 13dB
The choice of components are suitable because;

a) TD calculated is greater than TD given

b) Total power available at the detector is greater than
the minimum power required by the detector i.e Ma is
Example 8.2

An optical link is to be designed to operate over an 8-km length

without repeater. The risetime of the chosen components are:
Source: 8 ns
Fiber: Intermodal 5 ns/km
Intramodal 1 ns/km
Detector 6ns
From the system risetime considerations estimate the maximum bit
rate that may be achieved on the link using NRZ code.

Tsyst = 1.1(TS2 + TF2 + TD2)

= 1.1 [82 + (8 x 5)2 + (8 x 1)2 + 62)1/2]
= 46.2 ns
Max bit rate = BT (max)   15.2Mbps

Maximum bit rate = 15.2Mbps

Or 3 dB optical BW = 7.6MHz
Exercise 1

The following parameters were chosen for a long haul single mode
optical fiber system operating at 1.3µm.

Mean power launched from laser = 0 dBm

Cabled fiber loss = 0.4 dB/km
Splice loss = 0.1 dB/km
Connector loss at transmitter and receiver = 1 dB each
Mean power required at the APD
When operating at 35Mbps(BER = 10-9) -65 dBm
When operating at 400Mbps(BER = 10-9) -54 dBm
Required safety margin = +7 dB
a) maximum possible link length without repeaters
when operating at 35Mbps. It may be assumed
that there is no dispersion-equalization penalty at
this rate.
b) maximum possible link length without repeaters
when operating at 400Mbps.
c) the reduction in the maximum possible link length
without repeaters of (b) when there is dispersion-
equalization penalty of 1.5dB.
Exercise 2

Calculate the flux density to construct an optical link of 15 km

and bandwidth of 100 Mb/s. Components are chosen with the
following characteristics: Receiver sensitivity -50 dBm (at 100
Mb/s), fiber loss 2 dB/km and transmitter launch power into the
fiber is 0 dBm, detector coupling loss is 1 dB. It is anticipated
that in addition, 10 splices each of loss 0.4 db are required.
Determine where the system operate with sufficient power
margin or not?.
Example 8.4

An optical link was designed to transmit data at a rate of 20 Mbps

using RZ coding. The length of the link is 7 km and uses an LED at
0.85µm. The channel used is a GRIN fiber with 50µm core and
attenuation of 2.6dB/km.
The cable requires splicing every kilometer with a loss of 0.5dB per
splice. The connector used at the receiver has a loss of 1.5dB. The
power launched into the fiber is 100µW. The minimum power
required at the receiver is –41dBm to give a BER of 10-10. It is also
predicted that a safety margin of 6dB will be required.
Show by suitable method that the choice of components is suitable
for the link.
The power launched into the fiber 100µW = -10 dBm
Minimum power required at the receiver - 41dBm
Total system margin - 31 dBm

Fiber loss 7 x 2.6 18.2dB

Splice loss 6 x 0.5 3.0 dB
Connector loss 6.0 dB
Safety margin 28.7dB

Excess power margin = -31 dBm - 28.7 dB = 2.3 dBm

Based on the figure given, the system is stable and provides an excess
of 2.3 dB power margin. The system is suitable for the link and has
safety margin to support future splices if needed..
Example 8.5

An optical communication system is given with the following


Laser:  = 1.55µm,  = 0.15nm, power = 5dBm, tr = 1.0ns

Detector: tD = 0.5ns, sensitivity = -40dBm
Pre-amp: t A = 1.3ns
Fiber: total dispersion (M+Mg) = 15.5 psnm-1km-1, length = 100km,
 = 0.25dB/km
Source coupling loss = 3dB
Connector (2) loss = 2dB
Splice (50) loss = 5dB
System: 400 Mbps, NRZ, 100km
For risetime budget
0.7 0.7
system budget, Tsyst =  = 1.75ns
BT 400  10 6

source ts = 1.0ns …(1)

fiber tF = 15.5   100
= 0.25ns …(2)
detector tD = 0.5ns
pre-amp tA = 1.3ns
for receiver,
= tD  t
total A
= 1.39ns …(3)
System risetime from (1),(2) and (3)
1.0 = 0.252  1.392 = 1.73ns
Since the calculated Tsyst is less than the available Tsyst the
components is suitable to support the 400 Mbps signal.

For the power budget:

Laser power output 5 dBm
Source coupling loss 3 dB
Connector loss 2 dB
Splice loss 5 dB
Attenuation in the fiber 25 dB
Total loss 35 dB

Power available at the receiver = (5 dBm -35 dB) = -30 dBm

The detector’s sensitivity is -40 dBm which is 10 dB less. Therefore

the chosen components will allow sufficient power to arrive at the
detector. Safety margin is +10 dB,