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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
Photonics and Optical Communication
(Course Number 320352)
Spring 2005
Optical Communication Systems
Instructor: Dr. Dietmar Knipp
http://www.faculty.iu-bremen.de/course/c320352/
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
Photonics and Optical Communication
7 Optical Communication Systems
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Point to Point Transmission in a single channel system
7.3 Repeaters in optical communication systems
7.4 Optical Amplifiers in Single Channel Systems
7.5 Multiplexing Strategies
7.6 Coding Techniques
7.6.1 NRZ Coding
7.6.2 Non-Return to Zero Inverted (NRZI) Coding
7.6.3 RZ Coding
References
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.1 Introduction
So far we discussed the operation principle of individual optical and
optoelectronic components. In the following the individual components will be
combined to form a state of the art optical communication network.
In this course we will concentrate on digital optical communication systems.
Analog modulation schemes are only of minor interest in optical
communications. As a consequence the signal coupled in an optical fiber can
always be regenerated at the end of the transmission channel due to the digital
nature of the signal. Hence, the signal is transmitted without a loss of
information. In the following we will start with the discussion of point-to-point
connection before moving on to multi-channel systems.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.2 Point to Point Transmission in a single channel system
A traditional single channel transmission system is shown on this slide.
Traditional single channel systems were in use during the 1980’s. Time Division
Multiplex was used to combine a number of electrical channels, before feeding
the channels in an optical fiber via an optical transmitter module. The signal is
optically transmitted, but the regeneration of the signals is carried out by
electro-optical repeaters. The repeater spacing is 30-50km and the
transmission speed ranges from 155Mbit per second (Mbps) to 1.2Gbit per
second (Gbps).
Traditional long distance
single channel fiber
transmission system.
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton,
Understanding optical
communications
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.2 Point to Point Transmission in a single channel system
When the signal is received at a repeater station the signal is first converted in
an electrical signal. In the second step the signal is amplified. Furthermore,
distortions are removed from the signal, which are caused by noise or signal
dispersion.
The major bottleneck of such traditional optical communication systems were
the repeaters. When the system had to be upgraded - meaning the
transmission rate was increased – all repeaters had to be replaced by new
repeaters.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.3 Repeaters in optical communication systems
The propagation of light through a fiber leads to an attenuation, which is usually
proportional to the length of the optical fiber. The main sources of attenuation in
an optical fiber are absorption and scattering. We already discussed the
properties of fibers as part of the lecture on optical waveguides/fibers. If the
performance of an optical communication link would be limited only by the
attenuation of the signal a simple amplification of the signal would be sufficient
to regenerate the original signal. However, it is obvious that the regeneration of
a signal due to a repeater is not only an amplification. In general, as a signal
travels along a wire, a cable or an optical fiber (it does not matter whether it is
transmitted electrically or optically) the signal is distorted.
Comparison of amplification and
signal regeneration.
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton,
Understanding optical
communications
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.3 Repeaters in optical communication systems
At this point we will focus our discussion on the influence of distortion. This
problem is quite severe for electronic communication systems. Distortion of
signals due to transmission is less of a problem for optical communication
systems, because these effects can easier be removed or compensated.
The fact that we are dealing with a digital communication systems simplifies the
regeneration of the signal drastically. Repeaters in optical communication
systems receive the signal, convert the signal in an electrical signal, re-clock
and re-shape it, amplify it, converted it back to an optical signal before coupling
the signal back in the optical fiber. It is important to mention that this process is
code and timing sensitive. The repeaters have to be designed to handle the
transmission code and the timing scheme.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.4 Optical Amplifiers in Single Channel Systems
During the 1980’s most of the optical communication systems operated at a
wavelength of 1310nm (2
rd
Generation of Optical Communication Systems). That
changed at the beginning of 1990’s, when operating wavelengths were increased
to 1550nm (3rd Generation). In the mid 1990’s Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifiers
(EDFAs) where introduced. Therefore, the electro-optical repeaters were replace
by all-optical repeaters. This major breakthrough leads to a further increase of the
bandwidth-distance product of optical communication systems.
Single Channel optical transmission system using optical amplifiers
(4rd Generation of Optical Communication Systems).
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton, Understanding optical communications
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.4 Optical Amplifiers in Single Channel Systems
As a consequence the spacing of the repeater stations could be increased to
110km-150km, which leads to a significant cost reduction. The transmission
speed was increased to 1.2 Gbps or 2.4 Gbps.
The transition from the 2
rd
generation to the 4
th
generation of optical
communication systems leads to the following consequences:
1. The chromatic (material) dispersion in the medium wave band (1300nm band)
is close to be zero, whereas the dispersion at 1550nm is significantly
increased. The increased dispersion has to be compensated. This is clearly a
disadvantages of optical communication systems operating in the long wave
band.
2. Due to the introduction of optical amplifiers the system is “modulation
transparent” and “speed transparent”. This means that the modulation
scheme can be changed from without replacing the optical amplifiers. This
simply requires that the amplifier is linear. The same applies if the
transmission speed of the transmitter modules is increased. It is not
necessary to exchange the optical amplifiers.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.4 Optical Amplifiers in Single Channel Systems
3. In order to increase the overall transmission rate the modulation scheme
can be changed, the transmission speed can be increased or/and the
number of channels can be increased. So far we discussed the first and
the second option. Now we will speak about the third alternative. In
general, fiber based optical amplifiers amplify an entire wavelength range,
for example from 1530nm to 1560nm. Therefore, it should not be of
importance whether the optical amplifier amplifies a single or several
channels. However, an increase of the number of channels requires an
increase of the optical output power of the optical amplifier. In order to
avoid an exchange of the optical amplifiers the optical output power of the
amplifier can be chosen in such a way that the amplifiers still work with an
increased number of channels.
Such design constraints have be considered while designing an optical
communication system. If the output power of the optical amplifier is sufficiently
high the amplifiers does not have to be replaced if the transmission rate is
increased as a consequence of the change of the modulation scheme, the
change of the transmission speed and the increase of the transmitted channels.
Only the transmitter module on the input and the receiver module on the output
side has to be replaced.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.5 Multiplexing Strategies
The operating speed of electronic components reaches a practical limit at
frequencies of 10GHz-100GHz. However, in order to exploit more of the
available bandwidth of optical fibers alternative multiplexing schemes have be
employed. In the following we will discuss the two most important multiplexing
schemes which make better use of the available optical fiber bandwidth.
• Time Division Multiplexing (TDM)
• Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM)
Comparison of Optical Time
Division Multiplexing and
Wavelength Division multiplexing
Digital voice channel: 64kbit/s
TDM: Time division multiplexing,
WDM: Dense Wavelength
Division Multiplexing
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
Total capacity (bit rate) per
fiber.
Ref.: Bell Labs Technology,
Corporate Journal
7.5 Multiplexing Strategies
The transmission rate per channel is kept constant nearly for a decade (1990
to 1998), but the overall capacity of an optical fiber increased drastically due to
the introduction of wavelength division multiplexing. State of the art optical
communication systems are based on wavelength division multiplexing.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.5 Multiplexing Strategies
Wavelength division multiplexing involves the transmission of several channels
at the same time (parallel) through a single optical fiber. Each channels has its
own optical wavelength. Wavelength Division Multiplexing is quite different from
electrical frequency based modulation schemes. Each channel in an
Wavelength division multiplex system has access to the entire bandwidth of the
optical fiber.
Basic concept of point-to-point connection in an DWDM system.
Ref.: S.V. Kartalopoulos, Introduction to DWDM technology
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.5 Multiplexing Strategies
A complete schematic sketch of a Wavelength Division Multiplex point-to-point
transmission system is shown on this slide. Each optical transmitter module
transmits at a different wavelength so that the channels are completely
independent of each other.
The optical multiplexer can be realized by a passive optical power combiner,
because the different optical signals have to be simply feed into a single fiber.
Wavelength Division Multiplex
System. All optical
transmitters operate at a
different wavelengths.
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton,
Understanding optical
communications
λ
1
λ
n
λ
n
λ
1
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.5 Multiplexing Strategies
It is even possible to transmit channels that operate at different transmission
speeds or different modulation schemes.
Systems typically use a range of wavelengths from 1540 nm to 1560 nm. We
already discussed the advantages of this wavelength range (long wave range)
several times. Optical fibers exhibit their overall minimum of attenuation at
1550nm and optical amplifiers operate only at this wavelength. Transmission
speeds for such (D)WDM systems of several Tbps have been demonstrated.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.6 Coding Techniques
In order to transmit data through an optical channel the optical signal has to be
varied in a systematic fashion (coded) to represent the signal. In general
different coding scheme can be used to transmit optical signals like ASK, PSK,
or FSK.
Frequency shift keying (FSK) is a technique that modulates the frequency of
the light beam. However, it is difficult to directly modulate the frequency of a
laser. An external modulator (electro acoustic Bragg modulator) can be used,
but so far this method is not yet in general use.
The phase of a laser beam can’t be directly modulated, which would be
required in the case of Phase Shift Keying (PSK) and therefore this coding
technique is not used in optical communications.
What is left is Amplitude Shift Keying (ASK), which is the most applied
coding technique in optical communications. Amplitude shift keying (ASK) is a
technique which uses a bit stream to modulate the intensity of the light beam
directly. Maximum intensity is usually considered to be “1” and minimum or
zero intensity is considered to be “0”.
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.6 Coding Techniques
On-off Keying (OOK) can be considered as a special case of amplitude shift keying
(ASK) in which a number of discrete signal amplitude levels are used to carry a
digital signal. In the following we will discuss different On-Off Keying schemes.
7.6.1 NRZ Coding
The simplest coding scheme is NRZ coding (no return to zero coding) where a “1” is
represented by the presence of light (maximum light) and a “0” is represented by the
absence of light (no light or minimum level of light). Even thought the coding scheme
is very simple it is only used for slow speed optical links. The major disadvantage of
NRZ Coding is the recreation of the signal levels. There is no timing information
present in the received signal. The receiver has to define where a sample start.
Therefore re-clocking is difficult.
No return to zero (NRZ) coding.
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton, Understanding
optical communications
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.6.2 Non-Return to Zero Inverted (NRZI) Coding
Instead of using a NRZ Coding scheme a Non-Return to Zero Inverted (NRZI)
scheme is often used. Most digital communication systems are applying the
NRZI scheme. An “0” is coded if a transition from light to no light or from no
light to light is observed. When there are two successive pulses of light or two
successive periods of minimum (zero) intensity a “1” is detected. Therefore, a
“0” is represented as a change of a state whereas a “1” is detected as the
absence of a change.
No return to zero inverted
(NRZI) coding.
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton,
Understanding optical
communications
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
7.6.3 RZ Coding
In Return to Zero (RZ) coding the signal returns to the “0” throughout every bit.
An “1” is detected if the optical intensity is maximized during half of the bit time.
During the subsequent second half of the bit time the optical intensity has to be
minimized. In electrical communication system this coding scheme is not an
option because the required bandwidth is increased. In optical communication
the overall performance of the system is not limited by the bandwidth of the
optical fiber itself. Therefore such coding schemes can be used.
RZ coding is or was used as a standard coding scheme for Optical Time
Division Multiplexing (OTDM) communication systems.
Return to zero (RZ)
coding.
Ref.: H. J.R. Dutton,
Understanding optical
communications
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Photonics and Optical Communication, Spring 2005, Dr. D. Knipp
Optical Communication Systems
References:
John M. Senior, Optical Fiber Communications, Prentice Hall Series in
Optoelectonics, 2
nd
edition, 1992.
Bahaa E.A. Saleh, Malvin Carl Teich, Fundamentals of Photonics,
Wiley-Interscience (1991)
Harry J. R. Dutton, Understanding Optical Communications,
Prentice Hall Series in Networking, 1998. (Formerly freely available as a red
book on the IBM red book server.
Joseph C. Palais, Fiber Optic Communications,
Prentice Hall Series, 1998. 4
th
edition.