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National Conference on Advancements In Engineering And Technology, Management And Sciences on 23rd April 2016

A SURVEY ON IMPROVEMENT IN FREE SPACE OPTICS


USING MODULATION TECHNIQUES
Kiran Bala1*, Anu Sheetal1
Dept. of Electronics and Communication Engineering
G.N.D.U., Regional Campus
Gurdaspur, India

Karamdeep Singh2, Shivinder Devra2


Dept. of Electronics and Communication Engineering
G.N.D.U.
Amritsar, India

Abstract

Free-space optical communication (FSO) is an


optical communication technology which uses light, propagating in
free space to transmit data wirelessly for telecommunications. It is
point to point infrared spectrum based optical communication
between optical transceivers that are separated by physical medium
known as air. FSO links use modulated low power laser beams to
transmit information through the free space. This technology is useful
where a fiber optic cable is impractical. FSO uses the light of
wavelength 780nm to 850nm and 1550nm to 1600nm. 1550nm
wavelength produce higher power and more eyes safe compared to
780nm and 850nm. The first part of this paper introduces the free
space optic system its block diagram and previous research done on
free space optics. The second part informs about the atmospheric
conditions that effect the free space optical communication. The last
part will describes the previous work done using different modulation
techniques.
Keywords BPSK, DPSK, FSO, OOK, PolSK, QPSK.

I.

INTRODUCTION

Over the last two decades free-space optical communication


(FSO) has become more and more interesting as an alternative
to radio frequency (RF) communication. FSO has become a
main topic in world of wireless and optical communications.
Free-space optical communication (FSO) is an optical
communication technology which uses light, propagating in
free space to transmit data wirelessly for telecommunications.
It is point to point infrared spectrum based optical
communication between optical transceivers that are separated
by physical medium known as air [1]. In 1880, Alexander
Graham Bell invented the photophone, known as the worlds
first wireless telephone system [2]. It was based on the voice
caused vibrations on a mirror at the transmitter. The vibrations
were reflected and projected by sunlight and transformed back
into voice at the receiver. Prabhmandeep kaur et al. [3]
describes the difference between FOC and FSO system. In
FOC, channel radiation is confined within their guiding
structure and in FSO channel radiation diffracts as it
propagates from the source outwards. They evaluated the
performance of a FSO link using an array of direct detection
receivers under the influence of various atmospheric
conditions and turbulence strengths. In this paper expression

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for BER is derived by modeling the turbulence as a gamma


gamma distribution and the effect of weather conditions is
incorporated using Beer Lamberts law. Ales et al. [4] deal
with the construction of a modulator and demodulator for FSO
system and examine primarily the appropriate modulation
format for FSO and also describe the construction of two types
of photo detectors. This paper concluded that for OOK NRZ
modulation the, maximum transmission speed achieved the
value of 160 Mbps. M. S. Awan et al. [5] investigated impact
of fog, rain and snow effects and evaluate their performance
on the basis of attenuation data collected for the optical pulse
propagated through the troposphere and it was found that fog
is the most limiting factor.
Free space optic (FSO) technology is gaining popularity as
an alternative broadband technology by providing large
bandwidth, immunity to jamming, speedy deployment, secure
and license free operation. FSO links use modulated low
power laser beams to transmit information through the free
space [6]. This technology is useful where a fiber optic cable
is impractical. It is similar to fiber optic communications in
that data is transmitted by modulated laser light. Instead of
containing the pulses of light with in a glass fiber, these are
transmitted in a narrow beam through the atmosphere. Light
travels through air faster than glass [7]. The main components
of an FSO transmitter and receiver are modulator, optical
source (laser), optical detector and a demodulator.

Fig. 1. Block diagram of free space optics

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It also has certain limitations as reliability of an FSO


communication system is greatly affected by the atmospheric
conditions through which it has to propagate. Aerosol, fog,
gases, rain and various other suspended particles in the
atmosphere causes the optical beam scattering and absorption
which results in a large path loss and as a consequence
limiting the link length to less than 100m [8, 9, 10]. Even in
clear sky conditions atmospheric turbulence, which are caused
by temperature and pressure in homogeneitys present in the
atmosphere, leads to refractive index fluctuations in
atmospheric layers. When signal propagate through such
turbulent atmospheric layers, it will experience random
fluctuations. The variations in the amplitude and phase of the
received signal due to atmospheric turbulence effect are
known as scintillation. Scintillation causes deep signal fading
that lead to increased bit error rate and hence degrades the link
performance especially for link ranges greater than 1km [10].
The consequence of scintillation is more critical for small
aperture receivers [8, 11].
II.

ATMOSPHERIC EFFECTS

When an optical beam propagates in atmosphere, it


experiences different refractive indices in its path which
causes random variation in its intensity and phase that results
in the signal fading [12]. Each of these conditions is explained
below:
A. Fog Condition
Fog is the most pivotal weather phenomenon with respect
to FSO as it consists of small water droplets with radii nearly
the size of infrared wavelengths. The particle size distribution
varies according to different levels of fog. Weather condition
is referred to as fog when visibility range lies between 02,000
meters. Sometimes it is difficult to describe foggy conditions
using physical methods, therefore expressive words such as
"advection fog" or "convection fog" is used to characterize the
nature of fog [13].
B. Snow Condition
Snowflakes are ice crystals that come in a variety of sizes
and shapes. Whiteout conditions might attenuate the beam, but
this problem for FSO systems can be coped with as the size of
snowflakes is large in comparison to the operating wavelength
[14]. The amount of attenuation in snow condition is 3 dB/km
to 30 dB/km. [9]
C. Rain Condition
Rain has a distance-reducing impact on FSO, but still its
influence is significantly less than that of other weather
conditions. The influence is due to large difference between
the radius of raindrops and the wavelength of typical FSO
light sources [15]. Typical rain attenuation values are
reasonable in nature.

D. Clear Weather Condition


When there is a clear weather; there is very less
attenuation. The attenuation factor value in the clear weather
ranges from 0 to 3 dB/km [16].
Table 1: Attenuation coefficient for different weather conditions
Condition
Heavy Fog
Light Fog
Snow
Rain
Clear Weather

Attenuation (dB/Km)
80-200
40-70
20-30
4-17
0.2-3

III.

MODULATION

A. OOK (On Off Keying)


In OOK signaling, modulated data is represented by the
presence (ON) or absence (OFF) of a light pulse in each
symbol interval. At the receiver, for optimal signal detection,
we need to know the instantaneous channel fading coefficient
to perform dynamic thresholding [17]. A. D. Wyner et al. [18]
showed in their paper that, for a classic optical channel under
peak and average power constraints, a slotted binary
modulation can nearly achieve the channel capacity.
Furthermore, it is proved in [19] that, under such constraints,
PPM can attain the near-optimum channel capacity. The error
probability expression over atmospheric channels is derived
under the assumption of log-normal distributed scintillation,
and then the performance of DPSK system is compared with
that of a most commonly used on-off keying (OOK) system
under the same channel conditions. Theory analysis and
numerical results illustrate that with the same bandwidth,
DPSK system has a higher sensitivity than OOK, and to a
certain extent DPSK format can reduce the impairment from
turbulence induced scintillation for its threshold being signal
intensity insensitive, and hence, DPSK format is very suitable
for atmosphere channels and has a broad prospect in wireless
optical communications [20].
B. BPSK
Binary Phase-shift keying (BPSK) is a digital modulation
scheme that conveys data by changing, or modulating, the
phase of a reference signal (the carrier wave). BPSK is
appropriate for low-cost passive transmitters and the BPSK is
simplest form of phase shift keying (PSK). It uses two phases
which are separated by 180. This modulation is the most
robust of all the PSKs since it takes the highest level of noise
or distortion to make the demodulator reach an incorrect
decision [21].
C. QPSK
The Quadrature Phase Shift Keying is one of the variants
of PSK modulation which uses four different points on the
constellation diagram, equally spaced around a circle to
represent the data bits. These four phases help the QPSK to
encode two bits per symbol while representing the data [22].
The QPSK is can be used to double the data rate compared

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National Conference on Advancements In Engineering And Technology, Management And Sciences on 23rd April 2016
with a BPSK system while it maintains the same bandwidth of
the signal. The QPSK can also work in a manner, in which it
maintains the data-rate of BPSK but make the bandwidth
requirement half as compared to BPSK [23].
D. PolSK
S. Trisno et al. [24] studied PolSK (Polarization Shift
Keying) modulation based on linear polarization and their
results show 3.4 dB performance improvement of the PolSK
modulation over OOK system. Compared to the LPolSK,
CPolSK have another two advantages, firstly, it no longer
requires the alignment of polarization coordinates of the
transmitter and the receiver, secondly, distribution of light
intensity will be more uniform after through particle
scattering. Therefore, CPolSK modulation is manifested to be
a good choice for FSO system. Unlike the previous
modulation techniques, PolSK modulation utilizes the vector
character of light wave and codes digital bits as the states of
polarization, and the intensities of pulses stay constant over
time, thus, the fullest utilization of the output power of a laser
transmitter is obtained. Based on line polarization shift keying
(LPolSK), circular polarization shift keying (CPolSK) is
proposed, which implements binary modulation based on the
two rotation states of circular polarization. [25]
IV.

CONCLUSION

Free Space Optic offers solutions for current bottlenecks in


communication technology. FSO have the potential to improve
the standard of communication in a large number of
applications due to benefits such as high bandwidth, high data
rate, license free network, easy installation and many more.
Wavelength 1550nm is preferred due to human eye safety
concern for FSO communication. Unlike the previous
modulation techniques, PolSK modulation utilizes the vector
character of light wave and codes digital bits, thus, the fullest
utilization of the output power of a laser transmitter is
obtained. For advantages of excellent BER performance and
freedom from the alignment of polarization coordinates of the
transmitter and the receiver, etc., CPolSK modulation is
selected to be used for FSO system. There is a great scope of
further research in this field that will surely overcome a large
number of issues faced in todays communication links.

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