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**On the Performance of Different OFDM
**

Based Optical Wireless Communication

Systems

Raed Mesleh, Hany Elgala, and Harald Haas

Abstract—This paper analyzes the performance of indoor

orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) optical

wireless communication systems in the presence of light

emitting diode (LED) nonlinear distortions. There are several

forms of optical OFDM using intensity modulation [7th

Int. Symp. on Communication Systems Networks and Digital

Signal Processing (CSNDSP), 2010, pp. 566–570]. In this paper,

DC-biased optical OFDM (DCO-OFDM) and asymmetrically

clipped optical OFDM (ACO-OFDM) are considered. ACO-

OFDM produces a half-wave symmetry time signal at the

output of the OFDM modulator by special assignment of

subcarriers, thus allowing signal clipping at the zero level and

avoiding the need for DC bias at the expense of data rate

reduction. DCO-OFDM assigns data to all possible subcarriers

to increase the data rate. However, half-wave symmetry signals

cannot be achieved and a high DC bias is needed to convert

the bipolar signal to a unipolar signal before modulating the

LED intensity. This paper considers a practical LED model and

studies the performance of both systems in terms of average

electrical OFDM signal power versus bit error ratio in the

presence of an additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel.

In addition, DC power consumption and the transmitted

optical power for the two systems are compared. The analytical

results are validated through Monte Carlo simulations and

the obtained results demonstrate close match. It is shown

that LED clipping has signiﬁcant impact on the performance

of both systems and an optimum system design should take

into account the OFDM signal power, DC-bias point, and LED

dynamic range.

Index Terms—ACO-OFDM; DCO-OFDM; Direct detection; In-

tensity modulation; LED nonlinearity; OFDM; Optical wireless

communication.

I. INTRODUCTION

S

hort-range communication is one of the most relevant

as well as diversiﬁed ﬁelds of endeavor in wireless

communications. As such, it has been a subject of intense

research and development worldwide, particularly in the last

decade. Concepts such as wireless social networks, inter-car

Manuscript received March 17, 2011; revised June 22, 2011; accepted July 1,

2011; published July 29, 2011 (Doc. ID 144119).

Raed Mesleh (e-mail: raed.mesleh@ieee.org) is with the Electrical Engineer-

ing Department and SNCS Research Center, University of Tabuk, P.O. Box

6592-2, 47315-4031 Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

Hany Elgala is with Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, Research I,

28759 Bremen, Germany.

Harald Haas is with Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, Research I,

28759 Bremen, Germany, and is also with the Institute for Digital Communica-

tions, Joint Research Institute for Signal and Image Processing, The University

of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, UK.

Digital Object Identiﬁer 10.1364/JOCN.3.000620

communications, home and ofﬁce networking, wireless grids,

and personal communications heavily rely on short-range

wireless links.

In recent years, interest in optical wireless communication

(OWC) as a promising complementary technology for radio

frequency (RF) in short-range communications has gained new

momentum [1,2]. The abundance of unregulated bandwidth

at the optical frequencies has prompted interest in optical

wireless (OW) technology as a viable candidate to cope with

the future demand of indoor wireless access generated through

real-time bandwidth-intensive applications such as voice over

IP (VoIP), streaming video and music, and network attached

storage (NAS). Also, there are certain locations where the

use of RF based systems is ill-advised, such as in hospitals

and installations containing navigation equipment such as

in airplanes. The OWC technology does not suffer from such

restrictions.

An OWC communication system relies on optical radiation

to convey information in free space. The transmitter/source

converts the electrical signal to an optical signal and the

receiver/detector converts the optical power into electrical

current. OWC indoor applications prefer the use of light

emitting diodes (LEDs) as light sources due to relaxed

safety regulations, low cost, and high reliability compared

to laser diodes (LDs). Simple and low cost optical carrier

modulation and demodulation are usually achieved through

intensity modulation (IM) with direct detection (DD). The

desired waveform is modulated onto the instantaneous power

of the optical carrier and the detector generates a current

proportional to the received instantaneous power, i.e., only

the intensity of the optical wave is detected and there is no

frequency or phase information [3].

The performance of OWC systems depends on the propa-

gation and type of system used. The basic system types fall

into diffuse or line of sight (LOS) systems. In LOS systems,

high data rates of the order of Gbits/s can be achieved [4], but

the systems are vulnerable to blockage/shadowing because of

their directionality. In a diffuse OWC system, several paths

from source to receiver exist, which makes the systems robust

to blockage/shadowing. However, the path losses are high

and multipaths create inter-symbol interference (ISI) which

limits the achievable data rate [3,5]. A promising solution to

combat multipath distortion and boost the data rate without

any bandwidth or power expansion is by using an OFDM

(orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) technique.

OFDM for OWC systems was proposed in [6–11] to

support high data rates through parallel transmission of high

1943-0620/11/080620-09/$15.00 © 2011 Optical Society of America

Mesleh et al. VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW. 621

S(n) =

1

N

N−1

k=0

_

ℜ(s(k)) cos

_

2π

k

N

n

_

−ℑ(s(k)) sin

_

2π

k

N

n

__

+j

1

N

N−1

k=0

_

ℜ(s(k)) sin

_

2π

k

N

n

_

+ℑ(s(k)) cos

_

2π

k

N

n

__

,

. ¸¸ .

=0

n =0, 1, . . . , N−1, (2)

s =

_

0 s

0

0 s

1

· · · 0 s

N/4−1

0 s

∗

N/4−1

0 · · · s

∗

1

0 s

∗

0

_

T

. (3)

Box 1.

order multi-level quadrature amplitude modulation (M-QAM)

symbols on orthogonal subcarriers. OFDM systems are able

to support high data rates without the need for complex

channel equalizers and the time-varying channel can be

easily estimated using frequency-domain channel estimation.

In general, the output of the OFDM modulator is complex

and bipolar. In IM optical systems, quadrature modulation is

not possible. This means that the baseband signal must be

real. Also, the OFDM signal envelope variations are utilized

to intensity modulate the LED and the bipolar signal must be

converted to a unipolar signal. Therefore, OFDM as commonly

used in RF communications must be modiﬁed.

This paper analyzes the performance of two existing OFDM

modulation techniques suitable for OWC communication. The

performance of these systems is simulated via Monte Carlo

simulations and validated analytically in the presence of an

additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel and LED

clipping distortions. Clipping at the maximum allowable AC

voltage (corresponding to the maximum allowable forward

current) and at the LED turn-on voltage (TOV) obtained from

the LED data sheet are considered.

The remainder of this paper is organized as follows.

Section II discusses the considered OWC OFDM techniques.

Performance analysis along with the LED model are presented

in Section III. Simulation and analytical results are presented

in Section IV. Finally, Section V concludes the paper.

II. OPTICAL WIRELESS OFDM TECHNIQUES

A general system model of indoor OWC OFDM systems is

depicted in Fig. 1.

The information stream, q, is ﬁrst parsed into a block of

complex data symbols denoted by x. The complex symbols

are drawn from QAM/PSK (phase shift keying)/PAM (pulse

amplitude modulation) constellations. These complex symbols

are then mapped onto the following vector:

_

s

k

_

N−1

k=0

=

_

0 {x

k

}

N/2−1

k=

1

0 {x

∗

k

}

1

k=N/2−1

_

, (1)

where (·)

∗

denotes the complex conjugate. The Hermitian

symmetry property of the vector s is needed to create a real

output signal that is used to modulate the LED intensity.

The OFDM modulator applies an N-point inverse fast Fourier

transform (IFFT) on the vector s and adds a cyclic preﬁx (CP)

creating the real-time signal S. The output of the discrete IFFT

can be written as shown in Eq. (2), given in Box 1, where

j =

**−1 is the imaginary unit, ℜ(·) denotes the real part of
**

a complex number, and ℑ(·) denotes the imaginary part of

a complex number. The CP is needed to avoid inter-carrier

interference (ICI) as well as inter-block interference (IBI) by

converting the linear convolution with the channel into a

circular one. The resulting time signal is used to modulate the

intensity of an LED. However, the intensity cannot be negative

and the bipolar time signal S must be converted to unipolar

before modulating the LED intensity.

Based on the bipolar–unipolar conversion process, two OWC

OFDM techniques are reported in the literature, namely,

ACO-OFDM [9–12] and DCO-OFDM [6–8]. Details of each

OFDM technique will be discussed in what follows.

A. ACO-OFDM Technique

In ACO-OFDM, only odd subcarriers are modulated, as

given in Eq. (3) given in Box 1, where (·)

T

denotes the transpose

of a vector or a matrix. The values of the ﬁrst and the N/2

subcarriers must be real to ensure that the output consists of

only real values [8,10]. Therefore, the achieved data rate for an

ACO-OFDM system is given by

R

{ACO}

=

_

N/4−1

N+N

g

_

B log

2

M bits/s, (4)

where B denotes the bandwidth, N

g

denotes the number of

guard subcarriers used in the CP, and M is the modulation

order. Since s contains data on the odd subcarriers only, the

OFDM modulator produces a half-wave symmetry real-time

signal S. An example of S assuming N = 16 is depicted in

Fig. 2. The half-wave symmetry of S means that the same

information in the ﬁrst N/2 samples is repeated in the second

half of the OFDM symbol. As a consequence, the negative part

can be clipped without any loss of information. This clipping

produces a unipolar signal. The intermodulation caused by

clipping occurs only in the even subcarriers and does not affect

the data-carrying odd subcarriers. However, it reduces the

amplitude by a factor of two [10]. The unipolar signal is then

converted to an analog signal through the digital-to-analog

converter (D/A) and used to modulate the intensity of an LED.

At the receiver, the photodiode (PD) detects the transmitted

intensity and the analog signal is converted back to digital.

622 J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW./VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011 Mesleh et al.

PD (Photo diode)

LED (Light emiting diode)

Data

sink

De-modulator

Data

subcarrier

extraction

OFDM

demodulator

A/D AWGN

Data

source

Modulator

Subcarrier

assignment

OFDM

modulator

Bipolar–unipolar

conversion

D/A

q(k)

q(k)

x (k) s (k) S (n)

S

~

(n)

x (k)

Y (n) s (k)

Fig. 1. (Color online) Indoor OWC OFDM system model.

The received signal before the analog-to-digital converter (A/D)

is given by

Y=h⊗S+w, (5)

where the ⊗ denotes linear convolution, h =

[h(0) h(1) · · · h(L−1)]

T

is the L-path impulse response

of the optical channel which is modeled as discussed in detail

in [13, Eq. (13)], and w is an AWGN that represents the sum

of the receiver thermal noise and shot noise due to ambient

light with overall noise power denoted by σ

2

n

[3, Eq. (21)]. It

is important to note that the noise is added in the electrical

domain; hence, the received signal Y can be negative as well as

positive. So, unlike the transmitted signal, the received signal

is bipolar instead of unipolar. The CP is ﬁrst removed and the

linear convolution is converted to circular convolution,

˜

Y=h

˜

S+ ˜ w, (6)

where ˜ w,

˜

Y, and

˜

S are the signals without the CP and the

denotes circular convolution. To demodulate the signal, an

N-point fast Fourier transform (FFT) is taken, yielding

ˆ y =Hˆ s+ ˆ w, (7)

where H is an N×N diagonal matrix whose diagonal elements

are the N-point FFT of h and ˆ y, ˆ s, and ˆ w are the N-point FFTs

of

˜

Y,

˜

S, and ˜ w respectively. The odd subcarriers are extracted

from ˆ y to yield

ˆ y

o

=H

o

ˆ s

o

+ ˆ w

o

, (8)

where H

o

is an N/2 × N/2 diagonal matrix whose diagonal

contains the odd elements of the diagonal of H, ˆ y

o

and ˆ w

o

are the vectors composed of the odd elements of ˆ y and ˆ w,

respectively, and ˆ s

o

is

ˆ s

o

=

1

2

_

ˆ s

0

ˆ s

1

· · · ˆ s

N/4−1

ˆ s

∗

N/4−1

ˆ s

∗

N/4−2

· · · ˆ s

∗

0

_

T

.

(9)

A zero-forcing (ZF) equalizer is used to mitigate the effect of

the channel,

ˆ x =2

_

H

H

o

H

o

_

−1

H

H

o

ˆ y

o

, (10)

where (·)

H

and (·)

−1

are the Hermitian transpose and the

inverse of a vector or a matrix, respectively. A hard decision

is made on the estimated symbols ˆ x to retrieve the transmitted

information bits.

B. DCO-OFDM Technique

The second technique assigns data to all odd and even

subcarriers as follows [6–8]:

s =

_

s

0

s

1

. . . s

N/2−1

0 s

∗

N/2−1

· · · s

∗

1

s

∗

0

_

T

.

(11)

Hence, the achieved data rate for the DCO-OFDM system is

given by

R

{DC−biased}

=

_

N/2−1

N+N

g

_

B log

2

M bits/s. (12)

The OFDM modulator is applied to s producing the real-time

signal S. An example of S for N = 16 is depicted in Fig. 2.

The time signal is bipolar and DC bias is needed to shift

the negative values to positive values before modulating

the LED intensity. After adding the DC bias, all values

which create a voltage drop across the LED that is less

than the TOV are clipped. The DC-bias value depends on

the LED characteristics, the OFDM signal envelope which

depends on the considered modulation order, and the number

of OFDM subcarriers and can signiﬁcantly affect system

performance [14–16]. The processing of the time signal is

similar to the above discussed signal processing of ACO-OFDM

and is skipped here for the sake of brevity.

III. PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS

A. LED Model

In this paper, a white LED (Golden DRAGON, ZW W5SG)

from OSRAM is considered [17]. The maximum allowed

forward current is 500 mA. At 350 mA, the recommended

biasing point, the LED has a maximum luminous ﬂux of 71 lm,

Mesleh et al. VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW. 623

Time samples

A

m

p

l

i

t

u

d

e

(

V

)

DCO–OFDM

Time samples

A

m

p

l

i

t

u

d

e

(

V

)

ACO–OFDM

–0.06

–0.04

–0.02

0

0.02

0.04

0.06

0.08

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16

0.1

–0.05

0

0.05

0.1

Fig. 2. (Color online) The output OFDM time signals for the

ACO-OFDM and DCO-OFDM systems for N = 16. Half-wave

symmetry signals are achieved for ACO-OFDM. For DCO-OFDM,

however, a DC bias must be used.

a typical luminous intensity of 17 cd, and a 120

◦

viewing angle

at 50% of the luminous intensity. In this paper, the relation

between the forward voltage across the LED and the current

through the LED is modeled through a polynomial using the

least-square curve ﬁtting technique.

Each LED has a minimum threshold value known as

the TOV, c

l

, which is the onset of current ﬂow and light

emission [18]. The TOV is considered at 100 mA, which

corresponds to a 2.75 V drop across the LED. This is the

minimum allowed forward current according to the data sheet.

The LED outputs light that is linear with the drive current.

However, thermal aspects causing a drop in the electrical-

to-optical conversion efﬁciency must be considered [18].

Hence, AC/pulsed currents must be adjusted according to the

manufacturer’s data sheet to ensure that the LED chip does

not overheat, in order to avoid degradation in output light or, in

the worst case, total failure. The maximum allowed AC/pulsed

current is considered to be 1 A, which corresponds to a 4 V drop

across the LED, i.e., the maximum forward voltage, c

u

, of the

measured data sheet transfer curve.

A polynomial of the second degree shows a good ﬁt to the

LED transfer characteristic, as shown in Fig. 3. The curve

shows the nonlinear behavior of the LED using the developed

polynomial for forward voltage amplitudes in the range from

2.75 V up to 4 V.

A predistorter uses the LED inverse characteristics as a

nonlinear compensator to condition the OFDM signal prior

to the LED modulation [19]. Through predistortion, a linear

response curve is achieved over a large range of the input

signal amplitudes. However, the region which can be linearized

is limited. The maximum input amplitude that will be

modulated linearly depends upon the maximum permissible

AC/pulsed current through the LED. In Fig. 4, the value

of the TOV is subtracted from the values of the forward

voltages, i.e., a 0 V corresponds to the 2.75 V. The dashed

10

–1

10

0

Forward voltage (V)

F

o

r

w

a

r

d

c

u

r

r

e

n

t

(

A

)

Data sheet values

Polynomial curve

(a)

(b)

2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5

10

3

5

10

2

5

10

1

mA

I

F

V

F

OHL02520

2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5

V

Fig. 3. (Color online) (a) Discrete data sheet values and the LED

polynomial curve. (b) The data sheet curve.

curve in Fig. 4 shows the nonlinear behavior of the LED

using the developed polynomial for forward voltage amplitudes

in the range from 0 V up to 1.25 V. Therefore, and for the

considered LED, forward voltages below 0 V and above 1.25 V

are clipped, i.e., corresponding to the TOV and the voltage at

the maximum allowed AC/pulsed current. For the considered

LED, predistortion linearizes the LED response over the range

from 0.25 V up to 1.25 V. The solid curve in Fig. 4 illustrates

the linearized V–I relation. Therefore, forward voltages below

0.25 V and above 1.25 V are clipped.

Finally, regarding the optical power, most data sheets of

white LEDs provide only the photometric power, namely,

luminous ﬂux in lumens or the luminous intensity measured

in candela, which are useful metrics for illumination design.

Luminous ﬂux measures the light’s luminosity as perceived

by the human eye, whose sensitivity varies for different

wavelengths. However, the radiometric power in watts is a

624 J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW./VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011 Mesleh et al.

x: 0.25

y: 0.1107

Forward voltage (V)

x: 1.25

y: 1.011

F

o

r

w

a

r

d

c

u

r

r

e

n

t

(

A

)

LED curve (polynomial model)

LED linearized curve

–0.2

0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1

1.2

0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1 1.2

Fig. 4. (Color online) The V–I dashed curve using the developed LED

polynomial function after subtracting the TOV from the values of the

forward voltages across the LED. The linearized V–I solid curve with

the predistorter.

I–Radiant flux

Forward current (A)

R

a

d

i

a

n

t

f

l

u

x

(

W

)

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

0.45

0.5

0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 1

Fig. 5. (Color online) The relation between the forward current

through the LED and the radiated power in watts.

more relevant parameter for wireless transmission. Therefore,

for the considered LED, luminous ﬂuxes in watts are

determined. The luminous efﬁcacy (measured in lumens per

watt) is used for this purpose. The luminous efﬁcacy measures

the amount of luminous ﬂux achieved with a given amount

of radiant ﬂux. The theoretical limit for white LEDs is

300 lm/W [20], which is assumed in this paper for conducting

simulations. The relation between the forward current through

the LED and the radiated power in watts is shown in Fig. 5.

This curve is obtained from the data sheet curve relating the

current through the LED to the luminous ﬂux normalized

to the luminous ﬂux at 350 mA, i.e., 71 lm at 350 mA and

300 lm/W luminous efﬁcacy.

Denoting the polynomial equation relating the forward

voltage V and the forward current I shown in Fig. 4 as f

1

(V)

and the polynomial equation relating the output optical power

p

o

and I as f

2

(I), the output optical power for any input voltage

is calculated as follows:

p

o

= f

2

( f

1

(V)) W. (13)

B. Optical OFDM Techniques Performance Analysis

The OFDM signal exhibits a high peak-to-average power

ratio (PAPR). The high PAPR values in OFDM stem from

the superposition of a large number of usually statistically

independent sub-channels that can constructively sum up

to high signal peaks in the time domain. Hence, careful

adjustment of the OFDM signal envelope is required to

control distortion levels. Additionally, the LED should be

biased at an optimum biasing point to ensure minimum

distortion, while fulﬁlling power consumption and cell coverage

requirements [15,16,19,21,22]. The analysis in this paper

provides a simple analytical investigation of the effect of these

parameters on the performance of optical OFDM techniques.

An OFDM signal is the sum of N independent subcarriers.

For large values of N (N > 10), the ensemble average of S can

be accurately modeled as a Gaussian random process (due to

the central limit theorem) with zero mean and variance σ

2

equal to the total OFDM electrical signal power. Thereby, the

probability that, at any given time instance, S

n

takes the value

z is given by

p(S

n

= z) = p(z) =

1

_

2πσ

2

exp

_

−

z

2

2σ

2

_

. (14)

Simulation results show that the OFDM signal constella-

tions, in the presence of an LED, experience amplitude and

phase distortions in a random fashion [23]. According to the

Bussgang theorem, the amplitude distortion of a Gaussian

input results in an uncorrelated additive noise [24]. Hence, by

modeling this nonlinearity induced noise as Gaussian noise, a

simple deﬁnition of the effective SNR, ρ, as a function of the

nonlinearity induced noise power, σ

2

clip

, is given by

ρ =

OFDM signal power

Effective noise power

=

σ

2

σ

2

n

+σ

2

clip

, (15)

where σ

2

clip

is given by

σ

2

clip

=σ

2

uc

+σ

2

lc

, (16)

with σ

2

uc

being the noise component due to the clip-

ping/attenuation of the upper peaks of the OFDM signal, and

σ

2

lc

being the noise component due to the clipping/attenuation

of the lower peaks of the OFDM signal.

In ACO-OFDM, the LED is biased at the value of c

l

and the

negative part of the signal is clipped, producing a noise that is

orthogonal to the signal; hence, σ

2

lc

=0. The signal peaks larger

than the value of c

u

are also clipped, which produces an overall

Mesleh et al. VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW. 625

clipping distortion power given by

σ

2

clip

=

_

∞

c

u

(z −c

u

)

2

p(z) dz. (17)

For the DCO-OFDM system, signal levels above c

u

and

below c

l

are clipped, producing an overall clipping noise power

given by

σ

2

clip

=

_

∞

c

u

(z −c

u

)

2

p(z) dz+

_

c

l

−∞

_

z −c

l

_

2

p(z) dz. (18)

The overall noise power is then obtained by adding the clipping

noise power and the thermal noise power as given in Eq. (15).

The bit error ratio (BER) for any M-QAM constellation can

be calculated as given in Eq. (19) (see Box 2) [25], where

U is the number of constellation points on the x-axis and

J is the number of constellation points on the y-axis for

any rectangular QAM. For instance, U = 4 and J = 2 for a

rectangular 8-QAM.

IV. SIMULATION RESULTS

The performances of ACO-OFDM and DCO-OFDM systems

in the presence of LED clipping distortion are analyzed

analytically and through Monte Carlo simulations. The LED

model discussed in the previous section is considered. In all

results, the x-axis represents the average electrical OFDM

signal power before modulating the LED. The OFDM signal

power is varied from 0 dBm to 30 dBm and an AWGN power of

−10 dBm is assumed. As a result, the simulated electrical SNR

range is from 10 dB to 40 dB, which is within the reported SNR

values for indoor OWC systems [22,26,27]. In all analyses, a

channel bandwidth of B =20 MHz, a number of subcarriers of

N =1024, and a number of guard interval subcarriers of N

g

=4

are considered [3,8]. The simulated channel parameters are the

same as the conﬁguration A parameters shown in [13, Table 1].

The BER performance for different QAM modulation orders

is depicted in Fig. 6 for ACO-OFDM and in Fig. 7 for

DCO-OFDM.

By observing the performance of both systems, the following

trends can be observed:

• In both ﬁgures, dashed lines represent analytical results,

whereas solid lines represent Monte Carlo simulation

results. Both results demonstrate a very close match for

a wide range of SNRs and different modulation orders.

For Monte Carlo simulation results, the average BERs

for at least 10

6

transmitted bits are calculated for each

SNR value. The number of simulated bits increases with

increasing SNR.

• At low OFDM signal powers, the performance is noise

dominant, while clipping noise dominates at high signal

power. In all considered systems, it can be found that there

is an optimum power. The discontinuity in some of the BER

curves indicates that the simulated BER is less than 10

−8

for the corresponding OFDM signal powers. The optimum

value depends on the considered LED characteristics and

modulation order. Therefore, system design must consider

10

–8

10

–7

10

–6

10

–5

10

–4

10

–3

10

–2

10

–1

10

0

Electrical OFDM average signal power (dBm)

B

i

t

e

r

r

o

r

r

a

t

i

o

8-QAM–ana

8-QAM–sim

16-QAM–ana

16-QAM–sim

32-QAM–ana

32-QAM–sim

64-QAM–ana

64-QAM–sim

256-QAM–ana

256-QAM–sim

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Fig. 6. (Color online) ACO-OFDM BER performance for different

QAM modulation orders.

10

–8

10

–7

10

–6

10

–5

10

–4

10

–3

10

–2

10

–1

10

0

Electrical OFDM average signal power (dBm)

B

i

t

e

r

r

o

r

r

a

t

i

o

4-QAM–ana

4-QAM–sim

8-QAM–ana

8-QAM–sim

16-QAM–ana

16-QAM–sim

32-QAM–ana

32-QAM–sim

64-QAM–ana

64-QAM–sim

256-QAM–ana

256-QAM–sim

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Fig. 7. (Color online) DCO-OFDM BER performance for different

QAM modulation orders.

the LED characteristics and optimize the transmitted

signal power to avoid signiﬁcant performance degradation.

• The performance enhancement for all systems, when

increasing the power from 0 dBm to the optimum value, can

be explained by the increase in the SNR and the absence of

signal clipping at low amplitudes.

• Similarly, the performance degradation when increasing

the signal power beyond the optimum value is due to

clipping distortion.

• The optimum value for the ACO-OFDM system appears

at larger signal power as compared to the DCO-OFDM

system for the same modulation order. This behavior can be

explained by noting that the ACO-OFDM system utilizes a

larger LED dynamic range as compared to the DCO-OFDM

system since it requires a lower DC-bias value and the

clipping distortion is only due to clipping of the upper peaks.

However, the achieved data rate for the same modulation

order is not the same for both systems. For instance,

626 J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW./VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011 Mesleh et al.

BER=

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

¸

¸

¸

¸

_

M−1

M log

2

M

erfc

__

3ρ

2(M−1)

_

, square M−QAM

1

log

2

(U×J)

_

U−1

U

erfc

_

_

3ρ

U

2

+J

2

−2

_

+

J −1

J

erfc

_

_

3ρ

U

2

+J

2

−2

__

, M=U×J rectangular QAM.

(19)

Box 2.

ACO-OFDM with 64-QAM modulation order achieves a

data rate of about 29.77 Mbps while the DCO-OFDM

system achieves a data rate of 59.65 Mbps for the same

modulation order. If the ACO-OFDM system was designed

to achieve the same data rate as the DCO-OFDM system, a

constellation order of M = 4069 would be needed, which is

impractical.

In addition, DC power consumption and the average

output optical power are not the same either, as shown in

Fig. 8 for ACO-OFDM and in Fig. 9 for the DCO-OFDM

system. ACO-OFDM requires less DC power since it

needs biasing at the TOV only. However, for visible light

communication (VLC), larger DC-bias values are needed

to fulﬁll the illumination requirements and the DC power

consumption will be comparable for ACO-OFDM and

DCO-OFDM. The transmitted optical power is, however,

higher for DCO-OFDM since the DC bias shifts the signal

to higher values.

• ACO-OFDM transmitted optical power increases with

increase of the input electrical power and starts to ﬂatten at

larger input power values (>24 dBm in Fig. 8). In contrast,

the transmitted average optical power of the DCO-OFDM

system starts to decay with increase of the input OFDM

signal power. This is because the DCO-OFDM system is

biased at the average LED value and, due to clipping

distortions, larger input signal leads to larger clipping

distortion and more loss in transmitted optical power.

• High modulation orders, such as 256-QAM and higher, are

very sensitive to clipping distortions and increasing signal

powers beyond the optimum value becomes futile.

The analysis in this paper allows a simple method

to optimize system parameters for OFDM optical wireless

transmission techniques. For example, the considered DC-bias

system above uses a bias point b =0.625 V, which corresponds

to the recommended bias point for this LED from the

manufacturer. However, this might not be the optimum bias

point for communication. In Fig. 10, the BERs for the 16-QAM

DC-bias system with different bias points are depicted. It is

shown that the b =0.525 V bias point performs slightly better

than the considered b = 0.625 V bias point and with reduced

DC power consumption.

V. CONCLUSIONS

This paper has analyzed the performance of existing indoor

OWC OFDM transmission techniques. Existing techniques are

categorized based on the way data is assigned to subcarriers

and the bipolar–unipolar conversion process. The ACO-OFDM

Electrical OFDM signal power (dBm)

A

v

e

r

a

g

e

t

r

a

n

s

m

i

t

t

e

d

o

p

t

i

c

a

l

p

o

w

e

r

(

W

)

ACO-DC power consumption

ACO clipping at saturation voltage

0.06

0.08

0.1

0.12

0.14

0.16

0.18

0.2

0.22

0.24

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Fig. 8. (Color online) ACO-OFDM DC power consumption and the

average output optical power for different input OFDM electrical

signal powers.

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

0.3

0.31

0.32

0.33

0.34

0.35

0.36

Electrical OFDM average signal power (dBm)

A

v

e

r

a

g

e

t

r

a

n

s

m

i

t

t

e

d

o

p

t

i

c

a

l

p

o

w

e

r

(

W

)

DCO-AC output optical power–ideal

DCO-DC power consumption

Fig. 9. (Color online) DCO-OFDM DC power consumption and the

average output optical power for different input OFDM electrical

signal powers.

OWC technique produces a half-wave symmetry time signal

and allows clipping at the zero level, thus reducing DC power

consumption by avoiding the need for a DC bias. These

advantages are achieved at the expense of a major reduction

in data rate as compared to DCO-OFDM systems. The

performance of these systems in the presence of LED clipping

clearly highlights the signiﬁcant dependence on the considered

Mesleh et al. VOL. 3, NO. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. OPT. COMMUN. NETW. 627

10

–15

10

–10

10

5

10

0

SNR (dB)

B

i

t

e

r

r

o

r

r

a

t

i

o

0 5 10 15 20 25 30

b = 0 .625 V

b = 0 .725 V

b = 0.525 V

b = 0.425 V

Fig. 10. (Color online) DCO-OFDM optimum bias point analysis. A

16-QAM constellation is considered and the BER versus electrical

OFDM signal power is calculated for different bias points.

modulation order and other system parameters, such as bias

point value. It was shown that AWGN noise dominates at low

SNR values and clipping distortion dominates at large SNR

values. Therefore, system design should consider LED clipping

effects and should optimize the OFDM signal power and the

considered modulation order.

The analysis in this paper allows a simple method to

optimize system parameters. An example was shown where

an optimum DC-bias point is found for the considered LED

in this paper. It is shown that the optimum DC-bias point

for communication is different from the optimum DC-bias

point suggested by the manufacturer, which mainly considers

optimum brightness, long lifetime, and minimum temperature.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Dr. Raed Mesleh gratefully acknowledges the support for

this work from the Deanship of Scientiﬁc Research at the

University of Tabuk.

The authors acknowledge the support for this work from

the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

(BMWi) as part of the Lufo 2

nd

Call project SINTEG.

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2007.

Raed Mesleh (S’00–M’08) received his B.Sc.

degree in communication engineering from

Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan, in 2000,

his M.Sc. degree in communication technology

from Ulm University, Ulm, Germany, in 2004,

and his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering

from Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany,

in 2007. In October 2010, he joined the

University of Tabuk in Saudi Arabia where he

is now an Assistant Professor in the Electrical

Engineering Department and a researcher at the Sensor Networks

and Cellular System (SNCS) research center. From September 2007

until September 2010 he was with the School of Electrical Engineering

and Computer Science, Jacobs University, Bremen, Germany, where

he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow. His main research interests are

in wireless communication and optical wireless communication with

particular focus on MIMO techniques. He is a co-inventor of seven

patents, three of which are already granted, in the ﬁeld of RF and

optical wireless communication systems.

Dr. Mesleh received a tuition waiver for his Ph.D. study at Jacobs

University along with a three-year scholarship. In 2003, he received

the award for the best student performance in the M.Sc. course at

Ulm University (LEG award), and, in 2000, he received the award for

the best graduate communication engineer in year 2000 from Yarmouk

University. Dr. Mesleh joined Orange in Amman, Jordan (2000–2001),

as a System Engineer and worked as a Consultant for Nokia in Saudi

Arabia from 2001 to 2002. Dr. Mesleh serves as a technical reviewer for

several IEEE transaction journals and international conferences and

he is a TPC member for several international conferences in wireless

communications.

Hany Elgala (S’02–M’10) received his Ph.D.

degree fromJacobs University Bremen in 2010.

He received his B.Sc. degree in electronics and

communications from Ain-shams University

in 2000 and completed his M.Sc. degree in

microsystems engineering from Furtwangen

University in 2003. He is currently a Postdoc-

toral Fellow at the Department of Electrical

Engineering and Computer Science at Jacobs

University. Since 2005 he has been conducting

research on indoor optical wireless communication. His main research

interests are in the areas of communication systems, digital signal

processing, and circuit design.

Harald Haas (SM’98–AM’00–M’03) received

his Ph.D. degree from the University of

Edinburgh in 2001. From 2001 to 2002 he

was a Research Project Manager at Siemens

in Munich. Prof. Haas joined Jacobs University

Bremen in 2002 as an Associate Professor,

before returning in 2007 to The University

of Edinburgh where he now holds a personal

Chair of Mobile Communications.

His research interests are in interference

coordination and mitigation in wireless networks, the spatial modula-

tion multiple antenna concept, and optical wireless communication.

He holds more than 15 patents in the area of wireless

communications, and has published more than 170 conference and

journal papers. He has co-authored a book entitled Next Generation

Mobile Access Technologies: Implementing TDD with Cambridge

University Press. Professor Haas was an invited speaker at the

TEDGlobal Conference in 2011.

ACO-OFDM [9–12] and DCO-OFDM [6–8]. Clipping at the maximum allowable AC voltage (corresponding to the maximum allowable forward current) and at the LED turn-on voltage (TOV) obtained from the LED data sheet are considered. ACO-OFDM Technique In ACO-OFDM. it reduces the amplitude by a factor of two [10]. q. (4) II. Section II discusses the considered OWC OFDM techniques. NETW. Based on the bipolar–unipolar conversion process. The resulting time signal is used to modulate the intensity of an LED. However. the OFDM modulator produces a half-wave symmetry real-time signal S. VOL. The Hermitian symmetry property of the vector s is needed to create a real output signal that is used to modulate the LED intensity. Therefore. (3) given in Box 1. OPT. as given in Eq. The intermodulation caused by clipping occurs only in the even subcarriers and does not affect the data-carrying odd subcarriers. where (·)T denotes the transpose of a vector or a matrix. . These complex symbols are then mapped onto the following vector: sk k=0 = 0 N −1 N /2 {xk }k= −1 1 0 {x∗ }1 = N /2−1 . quadrature modulation is not possible. . two OWC OFDM techniques are reported in the literature. Performance analysis along with the LED model are presented in Section III. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. The half-wave symmetry of S means that the same information in the ﬁrst N/2 samples is repeated in the second half of the OFDM symbol. Simulation and analytical results are presented in Section IV. As a consequence. where j = −1 is the imaginary unit. creating the real-time signal S. . N g denotes the number of guard subcarriers used in the CP. 1. (2). . the achieved data rate for an ACO-OFDM system is given by R {ACO} = N/4 − 1 B log2 M N + Ng bits/s. N − 1. The output of the discrete IFFT can be written as shown in Eq.10]. given in Box 1. An example of S assuming N = 16 is depicted in Fig. Finally. The complex symbols are drawn from QAM/PSK (phase shift keying)/PAM (pulse amplitude modulation) constellations. The performance of these systems is simulated via Monte Carlo simulations and validated analytically in the presence of an additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel and LED clipping distortions. In general. (2) s= 0 s0 0 s1 ··· 0 s N /4−1 0 s∗ /4−1 N 0 ··· s∗ 1 0 s∗ 0 T . The unipolar signal is then converted to an analog signal through the digital-to-analog converter (D/A) and used to modulate the intensity of an LED. The information stream. The values of the ﬁrst and the N/2 subcarriers must be real to ensure that the output consists of only real values [8. In IM optical systems. only odd subcarriers are modulated. The remainder of this paper is organized as follows. order multi-level quadrature amplitude modulation (M-QAM) symbols on orthogonal subcarriers.Mesleh et al. namely. the negative part can be clipped without any loss of information. 1. the OFDM signal envelope variations are utilized to intensity modulate the LED and the bipolar signal must be converted to a unipolar signal. COMMUN. and ℑ(·) denotes the imaginary part of a complex number. 3. This paper analyzes the performance of two existing OFDM modulation techniques suitable for OWC communication. k k (1) where (·)∗ denotes the complex conjugate. (3) Box 1. Section V concludes the paper. Therefore. Since s contains data on the odd subcarriers only. ℜ(·) denotes the real part of a complex number. This means that the baseband signal must be real. OFDM systems are able to support high data rates without the need for complex channel equalizers and the time-varying channel can be easily estimated using frequency-domain channel estimation. the photodiode (PD) detects the transmitted intensity and the analog signal is converted back to digital. At the receiver. A. OFDM as commonly used in RF communications must be modiﬁed. is ﬁrst parsed into a block of complex data symbols denoted by x. 621 S (n) = k k ℜ (s (k)) cos 2π n − ℑ (s (k)) sin 2π n N N N k=0 1 N −1 k k +j ℜ (s (k)) sin 2π n + ℑ (s (k)) cos 2π n N N N k=0 =0 1 N −1 . However. . This clipping produces a unipolar signal. and M is the modulation order. Details of each OFDM technique will be discussed in what follows. The CP is needed to avoid inter-carrier interference (ICI) as well as inter-block interference (IBI) by converting the linear convolution with the channel into a circular one. Also. 2. The OFDM modulator applies an N-point inverse fast Fourier transform (IFFT) on the vector s and adds a cyclic preﬁx (CP) where B denotes the bandwidth. NO. the intensity cannot be negative and the bipolar time signal S must be converted to unipolar before modulating the LED intensity. n = 0. the output of the OFDM modulator is complex and bipolar. O PTICAL W IRELESS OFDM T ECHNIQUES A general system model of indoor OWC OFDM systems is depicted in Fig.

S. an N-point fast Fourier transform (FFT) is taken. NO. and w are the N-point FFTs ˜ ˜ ˜ of Y. ˆ x = 2 HH H o o −1 HH yo . a white LED (Golden DRAGON. ˆ respectively. NETW. and the number of OFDM subcarriers and can signiﬁcantly affect system performance [14–16]. An example of S for N = 16 is depicted in Fig. COMMUN. the achieved data rate for the DCO-OFDM system is given by R {DC−biased} = N/2 − 1 B log2 M N + Ng bits/s. At 350 mA. A hard decision ˆ is made on the estimated symbols x to retrieve the transmitted information bits. and w is an AWGN that represents the sum of the receiver thermal noise and shot noise due to ambient light with overall noise power denoted by σ2 [3. The odd subcarriers are extracted ˆ from y to yield ˆ ˆ ˆ y o = Ho s o + w o . ˆ s N /4−1 ˆN s∗ /4−1 ˆN s∗ /4−2 ··· ˆ0 s∗ T . the OFDM signal envelope which depends on the considered modulation order.622 J. ˜ ˜ ˜ Y = h S + w. The time signal is bipolar and DC bias is needed to shift the negative values to positive values before modulating the LED intensity. The DC-bias value depends on the LED characteristics. It n is important to note that the noise is added in the electrical domain. s. s N /2−1 0 s∗ /2−1 N ··· s∗ 1 s∗ 0 T . P ERFORMANCE A NALYSIS A. the received signal is bipolar instead of unipolar. The received signal before the analog-to-digital converter (A/D) is given by Y = h ⊗ S + w. (13)]. Eq./VOL. the recommended biasing point. After adding the DC bias. the received signal Y can be negative as well as positive. the LED has a maximum luminous ﬂux of 71 lm. hence. unlike the transmitted signal.. OPT. To demodulate the signal. respectively. The maximum allowed forward current is 500 mA. and w respectively. ZW W5SG) from OSRAM is considered [17].. (8) where H o is an N/2 × N/2 diagonal matrix whose diagonal ˆ ˆ contains the odd elements of the diagonal of H. Subcarrier Data Modulator assignment source x (k) q (k) OFDM modulator s (k) Bipolar–unipolar D/A conversion ~ S (n) S (n) Data sink q (k) De-modulator x (k) Data subcarrier extraction OFDM demodulator s (k) A/D AWGN Y (n) LED (Light emiting diode) PD (Photo diode) Fig. h = [h(0) h(1) · · · h(L − 1)]T is the L-path impulse response of the optical channel which is modeled as discussed in detail in [13. 3. and s o is ˆ so = 1 ˆ s0 2 ˆ s1 ··· The OFDM modulator is applied to s producing the real-time signal S. (9) A zero-forcing (ZF) equalizer is used to mitigate the effect of the channel. yielding ˆ y = Hˆ + w. (Color online) Indoor OWC OFDM system model. (6) B. 2. (21)]. (5) where (·)H and (·)−1 are the Hermitian transpose and the inverse of a vector or a matrix. III. and S are the signals without the CP and the denotes circular convolution. y o and w o ˆ ˆ are the vectors composed of the odd elements of y and w. (11) Hence. So. 8/AUGUST 2011 Mesleh et al. LED Model In this paper. 1. Y. Eq. s ˆ (7) where H is an N × N diagonal matrix whose diagonal elements ˆ ˆ ˆ are the N-point FFT of h and y. o ˆ (10) . (12) ˜ ˜ ˜ where w. The processing of the time signal is similar to the above discussed signal processing of ACO-OFDM and is skipped here for the sake of brevity. where the ⊗ denotes linear convolution. all values which create a voltage drop across the LED that is less than the TOV are clipped. DCO-OFDM Technique The second technique assigns data to all odd and even subcarriers as follows [6–8]: s = s0 s1 . The CP is ﬁrst removed and the linear convolution is converted to circular convolution.

3. 3. However.25 V are clipped.05 0 –0.75 V up to 4 V.04 – 0. total failure.5 Fig.25 V. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. c l .e. corresponding to the TOV and the voltage at the maximum allowed AC/pulsed current. The TOV is considered at 100 mA. A predistorter uses the LED inverse characteristics as a nonlinear compensator to condition the OFDM signal prior to the LED modulation [19]. The dashed 102 5 101 2. as shown in Fig. i.1 2 4 6 10 –1 8 10 Time samples 12 14 16 2.06 0.05 0.0 V 4. the maximum forward voltage.0 3. 623 DCO–OFDM 0.25 V and above 1.06 (a) 10 0 Amplitude (V) 2 4 6 8 10 Time samples ACO–OFDM 12 14 16 Forward current (A) Data sheet values Polynomial curve 0. A polynomial of the second degree shows a good ﬁt to the LED transfer characteristic. COMMUN. namely. in order to avoid degradation in output light or.75 V drop across the LED. a 0 V corresponds to the 2. forward voltages below 0. however.e. whose sensitivity varies for different wavelengths.75 V.25 V.e. (Color online) (a) Discrete data sheet values and the LED polynomial curve. For the considered LED. 3.0 2. i. which corresponds to a 4 V drop across the LED.5 4 Forward voltage (V) OHL02520 4.5 4. the value of the TOV is subtracted from the values of the forward voltages.08 0. This is the minimum allowed forward current according to the data sheet.1 Amplitude (V) 0. In Fig.25 V up to 1.02 – 0. NO. a DC bias must be used. The maximum input amplitude that will be modulated linearly depends upon the maximum permissible AC/pulsed current through the LED. The solid curve in Fig. The LED outputs light that is linear with the drive current. (Color online) The output OFDM time signals for the ACO-OFDM and DCO-OFDM systems for N = 16.02 0 – 0. Each LED has a minimum threshold value known as the TOV. AC/pulsed currents must be adjusted according to the manufacturer’s data sheet to ensure that the LED chip does not overheat. VOL. 4. luminous ﬂux in lumens or the luminous intensity measured in candela. Luminous ﬂux measures the light’s luminosity as perceived by the human eye. which are useful metrics for illumination design.. Therefore. Hence. the relation between the forward voltage across the LED and the current through the LED is modeled through a polynomial using the least-square curve ﬁtting technique. 4 illustrates the linearized V–I relation. The maximum allowed AC/pulsed current is considered to be 1 A. For DCO-OFDM.5 VF Fig. NETW. i. (b) The data sheet curve.. Through predistortion. 2. forward voltages below 0 V and above 1. predistortion linearizes the LED response over the range from 0. 4 shows the nonlinear behavior of the LED using the developed polynomial for forward voltage amplitudes in the range from 0 V up to 1. regarding the optical power. c u . However. which corresponds to a 2. curve in Fig. and a 120◦ viewing angle at 50% of the luminous intensity. Therefore. which is the onset of current ﬂow and light emission [18]. However. OPT. in the worst case. Half-wave symmetry signals are achieved for ACO-OFDM. and for the considered LED.5 3 3.5 3.04 0. of the measured data sheet transfer curve. the region which can be linearized is limited.. In this paper. Finally. The curve shows the nonlinear behavior of the LED using the developed polynomial for forward voltage amplitudes in the range from 2. (b) IF 103 mA 5 a typical luminous intensity of 17 cd. most data sheets of white LEDs provide only the photometric power.25 V are clipped. thermal aspects causing a drop in the electricalto-optical conversion efﬁciency must be considered [18].Mesleh et al. the radiometric power in watts is a . a linear response curve is achieved over a large range of the input signal amplitudes.

2 0./VOL. Thereby. ρ .9 1 p (S n = z) = p (z) = exp − .2 0 –0.25 0. in the presence of an LED. experience amplitude and phase distortions in a random fashion [23].2 0.8 0. a simple deﬁnition of the effective SNR. 4. the ensemble average of S can be accurately modeled as a Gaussian random process (due to the central limit theorem) with zero mean and variance σ2 equal to the total OFDM electrical signal power. Optical OFDM Techniques Performance Analysis The OFDM signal exhibits a high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR). σ2 . This curve is obtained from the data sheet curve relating the current through the LED to the luminous ﬂux normalized to the luminous ﬂux at 350 mA. at any given time instance. (15) where σ2 is given by clip σ2 = σ2 + σ2 . 5. The luminous efﬁcacy measures the amount of luminous ﬂux achieved with a given amount of radiant ﬂux. the amplitude distortion of a Gaussian input results in an uncorrelated additive noise [24]. Hence. by modeling this nonlinearity induced noise as Gaussian noise..7 0.3 0. (13) 1 0.4 Radiant flux (W) 0. producing a noise that is orthogonal to the signal. luminous ﬂuxes in watts are determined.5 0.05 0. the output optical power for any input voltage is calculated as follows: p o = f 2 ( f 1 (V )) W.624 J. σ2 = 0. the LED is biased at the value of c l and the negative part of the signal is clipped.6 0.2 LED curve (polynomial model) LED linearized curve x: 1. hence. Additionally. Therefore.4 0.4 0. NETW. and σ2 being the noise component due to the clipping/attenuation lc of the lower peaks of the OFDM signal. The analysis in this paper provides a simple analytical investigation of the effect of these parameters on the performance of optical OFDM techniques. For large values of N (N > 10). In ACO-OFDM. (Color online) The V–I dashed curve using the developed LED polynomial function after subtracting the TOV from the values of the forward voltages across the LED. An OFDM signal is the sum of N independent subcarriers. According to the Bussgang theorem. 5. i. which produces an overall . COMMUN. 71 lm at 350 mA and 300 lm/W luminous efﬁcacy.011 p o and I as f 2 (I). the LED should be biased at an optimum biasing point to ensure minimum distortion.2 0. 8/AUGUST 2011 Mesleh et al. for the considered LED. S n takes the value z is given by 1 2πσ2 z2 2σ2 0 0. careful adjustment of the OFDM signal envelope is required to control distortion levels. (14) Forward current (A) Simulation results show that the OFDM signal constellations.5 0.16.6 0. The signal peaks larger lc than the value of c u are also clipped.25 y: 0. 1.2 x: 0. I–Radiant flux 0. which is assumed in this paper for conducting simulations.25 y: 1. Hence.45 0. Denoting the polynomial equation relating the forward voltage V and the forward current I shown in Fig. the probability that.15 0. NO.4 0. The theoretical limit for white LEDs is 300 lm/W [20].3 0.22]. while fulﬁlling power consumption and cell coverage requirements [15. The high PAPR values in OFDM stem from the superposition of a large number of usually statistically independent sub-channels that can constructively sum up to high signal peaks in the time domain.19. OFDM signal power Effective noise power σ2 σ2 + σ2 n clip more relevant parameter for wireless transmission. The relation between the forward current through the LED and the radiated power in watts is shown in Fig. The linearized V–I solid curve with the predistorter. as a function of the nonlinearity induced noise power. 4 as f 1 (V ) and the polynomial equation relating the output optical power = .e. (Color online) The relation between the forward current through the LED and the radiated power in watts.8 Forward current (A) 0. is given by clip ρ= Fig.35 0. OPT.21.6 0.1 0.8 1 1. The luminous efﬁcacy (measured in lumens per watt) is used for this purpose. uc clip lc (16) with σ2 being the noise component due to the clipuc ping/attenuation of the upper peaks of the OFDM signal.2 Forward voltage (V) Fig. 3.1 0.1107 B.

The BER performance for different QAM modulation orders is depicted in Fig. while clipping noise dominates at high signal power. (Color online) ACO-OFDM BER performance for different QAM modulation orders. 6. signal levels above c u and below c l are clipped. • The performance enhancement for all systems. Therefore. (18) –5 –6 The overall noise power is then obtained by adding the clipping noise power and the thermal noise power as given in Eq. NO. which is within the reported SNR values for indoor OWC systems [22. In all results. The LED model discussed in the previous section is considered. However. VOL. The optimum value depends on the considered LED characteristics and modulation order. the x-axis represents the average electrical OFDM signal power before modulating the LED. For instance. when increasing the power from 0 dBm to the optimum value. the LED characteristics and optimize the transmitted signal power to avoid signiﬁcant performance degradation.27].26. (Color online) DCO-OFDM BER performance for different QAM modulation orders. U = 4 and J = 2 for a rectangular 8-QAM. a channel bandwidth of B = 20 MHz. can be explained by the increase in the SNR and the absence of signal clipping at low amplitudes. (15). Table 1]. By observing the performance of both systems. dashed lines represent analytical results. The discontinuity in some of the BER curves indicates that the simulated BER is less than 10−8 for the corresponding OFDM signal powers. the following trends can be observed: • In both ﬁgures. As a result. 8/AUGUST 2011/J. • At low OFDM signal powers. 10 10 –7 –8 8-QAM–ana 8-QAM–sim 16-QAM–ana 16-QAM–sim 32-QAM–ana 32-QAM–sim 64-QAM–ana 64-QAM–sim 256-QAM–ana 256-QAM–sim 0 5 10 15 20 25 Electrical OFDM average signal power (dBm) 30 Fig. (19) (see Box 2) [25]. the performance degradation when increasing the signal power beyond the optimum value is due to clipping distortion.Mesleh et al. the achieved data rate for the same modulation order is not the same for both systems. 625 clipping distortion power given by σ2 = clip ∞ 10 0 cu (z − c u )2 p (z) dz. The number of simulated bits increases with increasing SNR. In all considered systems. The simulated channel parameters are the same as the conﬁguration A parameters shown in [13. it can be found that there is an optimum power. For instance. NETW. system design must consider 10 0 10 –1 10 –2 10 –3 10 –4 10 –5 10 –6 10 –7 10 –8 4-QAM–ana 4-QAM–sim 8-QAM–ana 8-QAM–sim 16-QAM–ana 16-QAM–sim 32-QAM–ana 32-QAM–sim 64-QAM–ana 64-QAM–sim 256-QAM–ana 256-QAM–sim Bit error ratio 0 5 10 15 20 25 Electrical OFDM average signal power (dBm) 30 Fig. 6 for ACO-OFDM and in Fig. COMMUN. 7 for DCO-OFDM. IV. 7. and a number of guard interval subcarriers of N g = 4 are considered [3. the performance is noise dominant. The OFDM signal power is varied from 0 dBm to 30 dBm and an AWGN power of −10 dBm is assumed. This behavior can be explained by noting that the ACO-OFDM system utilizes a larger LED dynamic range as compared to the DCO-OFDM system since it requires a lower DC-bias value and the clipping distortion is only due to clipping of the upper peaks. a number of subcarriers of N = 1024. • The optimum value for the ACO-OFDM system appears at larger signal power as compared to the DCO-OFDM system for the same modulation order. . For Monte Carlo simulation results. the average BERs for at least 106 transmitted bits are calculated for each SNR value. (17) 10 10 Bit error ratio –1 –2 For the DCO-OFDM system. The bit error ratio (BER) for any M-QAM constellation can be calculated as given in Eq. whereas solid lines represent Monte Carlo simulation results. producing an overall clipping noise power given by σ2 = clip ∞ 10 10 10 10 –3 –4 cu (z − c u )2 p (z) dz+ cl −∞ z − cl 2 p (z) dz. the simulated electrical SNR range is from 10 dB to 40 dB. where U is the number of constellation points on the x-axis and J is the number of constellation points on the y-axis for any rectangular QAM.8]. Both results demonstrate a very close match for a wide range of SNRs and different modulation orders. • Similarly. In all analyses. OPT. 3. S IMULATION R ESULTS The performances of ACO-OFDM and DCO-OFDM systems in the presence of LED clipping distortion are analyzed analytically and through Monte Carlo simulations.

In addition. the considered DC-bias system above uses a bias point b = 0.626 J. 10. which corresponds to the recommended bias point for this LED from the manufacturer.32 DCO-AC output optical power–ideal DCO-DC power consumption 0.1 0. however. If the ACO-OFDM system was designed to achieve the same data rate as the DCO-OFDM system.525 V bias point performs slightly better than the considered b = 0. Box 2. This is because the DCO-OFDM system is biased at the average LED value and. However. 8/AUGUST 2011 Mesleh et al. the transmitted average optical power of the DCO-OFDM system starts to decay with increase of the input OFDM signal power. higher for DCO-OFDM since the DC bias shifts the signal to higher values. a constellation order of M = 4069 would be needed. 0./VOL. OPT. BER = M −1 M log2 M erfc 3ρ .34 0. thus reducing DC power consumption by avoiding the need for a DC bias.06 0 5 10 15 20 Electrical OFDM signal power (dBm) 25 30 ACO-DC power consumption ACO clipping at saturation voltage Fig. NO. are very sensitive to clipping distortions and increasing signal powers beyond the optimum value becomes futile.625 V bias point and with reduced DC power consumption. 8). for visible light communication (VLC). 3. It is shown that the b = 0. due to clipping distortions. 8.35 Average transmitted optical power (W) 0. ACO-OFDM with 64-QAM modulation order achieves a data rate of about 29. • High modulation orders. COMMUN. 8 for ACO-OFDM and in Fig. 9. (Color online) ACO-OFDM DC power consumption and the average output optical power for different input OFDM electrical signal powers. larger DC-bias values are needed to fulﬁll the illumination requirements and the DC power consumption will be comparable for ACO-OFDM and DCO-OFDM. this might not be the optimum bias point for communication. However.16 0. In contrast.65 Mbps for the same modulation order. M = U × J rectangular QAM. The performance of these systems in the presence of LED clipping clearly highlights the signiﬁcant dependence on the considered .22 Average transmitted optical power (W) 0. which is impractical. DC power consumption and the average output optical power are not the same either. 9 for the DCO-OFDM system.625 V. The transmitted optical power is.08 0. Existing techniques are categorized based on the way data is assigned to subcarriers and the bipolar–unipolar conversion process. 2 (M − 1) 3ρ square M − QAM + U −1 1 erfc log2 (U × J) U U 2 + J2 − 2 J −1 erfc J 3ρ U 2 + J2 − 2 (19) .36 0.18 0. as shown in Fig. For example. 0. In Fig.12 0. These advantages are achieved at the expense of a major reduction in data rate as compared to DCO-OFDM systems. C ONCLUSIONS This paper has analyzed the performance of existing indoor OWC OFDM transmission techniques. larger input signal leads to larger clipping distortion and more loss in transmitted optical power.24 0. such as 256-QAM and higher. 0.3 0 5 10 15 20 Electrical OFDM average signal power (dBm) 25 30 Fig. The ACO-OFDM OWC technique produces a half-wave symmetry time signal and allows clipping at the zero level. • ACO-OFDM transmitted optical power increases with increase of the input electrical power and starts to ﬂatten at larger input power values (> 24 dBm in Fig.2 0. the BERs for the 16-QAM DC-bias system with different bias points are depicted. NETW.14 0.33 The analysis in this paper allows a simple method to optimize system parameters for OFDM optical wireless transmission techniques.31 0. (Color online) DCO-OFDM DC power consumption and the average output optical power for different input OFDM electrical signal powers. ACO-OFDM requires less DC power since it needs biasing at the TOV only. V.77 Mbps while the DCO-OFDM system achieves a data rate of 59.

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Germany. Jordan. Hany Elgala (S’02–M’10) received his Ph. He holds more than 15 patents in the area of wireless communications. vol. Harald Haas (SM’98–AM’00–M’03) received his Ph. pp. three of which are already granted. Germany. Cho and D. on Communication Systems. Grubor. Haas joined Jacobs University Bremen in 2002 as an Associate Professor. digital signal processing. Bremen. Prof. “Optical hotspots speed up wireless communication. G. He received his B. Dr. Mar. [26] J. in the ﬁeld of RF and optical wireless communication systems. and J. pp. 50. G. July 2002. Stavrinou. Ulm. 4.628 J. Raed Mesleh (S’00–M’08) received his B. course at Ulm University (LEG award). in 2004. of the IEEE 10th Int. vol. pp. 3. Mesleh serves as a technical reviewer for several IEEE transaction journals and international conferences and he is a TPC member for several international conferences in wireless communications. [27] D. He has co-authored a book entitled Next Generation Mobile Access Technologies: Implementing TDD with Cambridge University Press. His main research interests are in wireless communication and optical wireless communication with particular focus on MIMO techniques.” Nat. Rep.D. His main research interests are in the areas of communication systems. Germany. [23] H. Photonics. Mesleh joined Orange in Amman. Bremen. Austria. where he worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow. vol. Professor Haas was an invited speaker at the TEDGlobal Conference in 2011. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Conf. Networks and Digital Signal Processing. R. Transparent Optical Networks (ICTON 08). Dr. “Practical considerations for indoor wireless optical system implementation using OFDM. Elgala. . degree from Jacobs University Bremen in 2010. Cambridge. NO. 1952. Conf. Mesleh. Irbid. degree in communication technology from Ulm University. “On the general BER expression of oneand two-dimensional amplitude modulations. Commun. Mesleh et al. Zagreb. 8/AUGUST 2011 I. on Telecommunications (ConTel). “Bandwidth efﬁcient indoor optical wireless communications with white light emitting diodes. he joined the University of Tabuk in Saudi Arabia where he is now an Assistant Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department and a researcher at the Sensor Networks and Cellular System (SNCS) research center. no. Athens. and has published more than 170 conference and journal papers. 2009. 2008. degree from the University of Edinburgh in 2001. MA. K. [25] K. He is a co-inventor of seven patents. Walewski. Parry. In 2003. degree in microsystems engineering from Furtwangen University in 2003. “Cross correlation function of amplitude-distorted Gaussian signals. Mesleh received a tuition waiver for his Ph. 2007. in 2000. Yoon. Langer. Dr. 149–154. degree in electronics and communications from Ain-shams University in 2000 and completed his M. Croatia. and P. In October 2010.D. and./VOL. From September 2007 until September 2010 he was with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.Sc. 1. he received the award for the best student performance in the M. Haas. in 2007. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Jacobs University. Wolf. June 22–26.D. and M. Neokosmidis. the spatial modulation multiple antenna concept. 216. in 2000. and his Ph. he received the award for the best graduate communication engineer in year 2000 from Yarmouk University. Jordan (2000–2001). June 23–25. [24] J. June 8–10.Sc. 1. 7.Sc.Sc.D. degree in electrical engineering from Jacobs University. COMMUN.” Tech. S.. 245–247. his M. From 2001 to 2002 he was a Research Project Manager at Siemens in Munich. Graz. Since 2005 he has been conducting research on indoor optical wireless communication. NETW. of the 10th Anniversary Int. 1074–1080.” in Proc. as a System Engineer and worked as a Consultant for Nokia in Saudi Arabia from 2001 to 2002. Symp.Sc. vol. 165–169. 2008. OPT. before returning in 2007 to The University of Edinburgh where he now holds a personal Chair of Mobile Communications. Research Laboratory for Electronics. degree in communication engineering from Yarmouk University. Randel. of the 6th Int. and optical wireless communication.” IEEE Trans. His research interests are in interference coordination and mitigation in wireless networks. study at Jacobs University along with a three-year scholarship. Jacobs University.” in Proc. Bussgang. pp. and H.” in Proc. Greece. “Optical wireless communications for broadband access in home area networks. and circuit design. Ntogari. O’Brien.

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