Advanced Techniques to Increase the Number of
Users and Bit Rate in OCDMA Networks
Alan E. Willner, Fellow, IEEE, Poorya Saghari, Member, IEEE, and Vahid R. Arbab, Student Member, IEEE
(Invited Paper)

Abstract—Optical code-division multiple-access (OCDMA) systems have recently become a topic of interest for their potential
application in access points and optical LANs. In this paper, we
review OCDMA systems and their limitations, as well as various
experimental techniques to increase the number of users and/or bit
rate in a system or a network. These techniques include incorporating M-ary modulation formats, hard-limiting receiver, variable
thresholding, and orthogonal polarizations as the third dimension.
We also discuss some network limitations such as congestion collapse and near–far effect, and we investigate two techniques to
overcome them: interference avoidance and missing chip detection.
Index Terms—Code, congestion collapse, interference avoidance
(IA), M-ary, optical code division multiple access (CDMA), optical
orthogonal codes (OOC), polarization, pulse position modulation
(PPM), quality of service (QoS), threshold, time–wavelength.

PART from providing an enormous data rate, optical access systems can afford broadband service to subscribers
in a LAN. There are two different types of architectures for the
access points: 1) point-to-point and 2) passive optical network
(PON). Point-to-point access requires an installation of optical transceiver for each customer resulting in a huge economic
barrier. PON uses a single transceiver with a splitter to serve
multiple users sharing the same bandwidth. As several users
share the same fiber medium, various multiplexing schemes can
be used in a PON [1]–[3].
Currently, time-division multiple-access PON (TDMA-PON)
architectures are commercially available; however, they suffer
from bandwidth limitations, synchronization, and difficult scalability. Subcarrier multiple access (SCMA) is another method
in which different packets are submitted on different electrical
frequencies, electrically multiplexed, and then modulated on an
optical carrier [2]. Another candidate for PON is wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) [4]. WDM-PONs are an emerging
technology due to their scalability, while they are still costly.
A code-division multiple-access PON (CDMA-PON) may be a
good alternative for future access networks due to their enhanced
data privacy, flexibility, and simplicity of network control especially when considering the fine granularity of traffic, flexible
bandwidth management, and ability to support variable quality
of service (QoS).


Manuscript received February 2, 2003; revised June 20, 2007. This work was
supported in part by DARPA, SPAWAR, under Contract N66001-02-1-8939.
The authors are with the Department of Electrical Engineering, University of
Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089 USA (e-mail:;;
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JSTQE.2007.903393

This paper is structured as follows. In Section II, a brief
overview of optical CDMA (OCDMA) is presented and the
concept of different OCDMA techniques, optical orthogonal
codes (OOC), and limitations on the number of users and/or bit
rate is discussed. In the following sections, we will introduce
various techniques to overcome these limitations. In Section III,
we have introduced code position modulation (CPM) to increase
the transmitted bits per symbol, i.e., bit rate for a given chip
time, and the experimental demonstration as well as analytical
evaluation are presented. A variation of CPM named double
pulse position modulation (2PPM) is also shown. In Section IV,
missing chip detection (MCD) method to realize hard-limiting
receiver for doubling the number of users and avoiding the near–
far effect in an OCDMA network is presented. Section V shows
the effects of nonoptimal thresholding in OCDMA system that
results in a power penalty for an increased number of users.
Section VI shows a method to double the number of users by
exploiting orthogonal polarizations as the third dimension and
Section VII shows an interference avoidance (IA) algorithm to
avoid the congestion collapse in OCDMA networks.
A. OCDMA Principle
OCDMA was introduced as an access technology that does
not require centralized network control so it can efficiently provide the required bandwidth and connectivity in LANs. Although the advantages of OCDMA have been recognized for
many years, it has never accomplished its true potential because
of fundamental limitations.
Unlike WDM and TDMA, in OCDMA systems, different
users share both time and frequency domains but are distinguished with a unique spreading signature code. Each user’s
data is multiplied by its spreading sequence, and then, all users
are coupled into the shared fiber optic channel. An OCDMA system can be designed to support synchronous or asynchronous
data traffic. In the synchronous case, high spectral efficiency is
achievable; however, the need for chip- and bit-wise synchronization requires global synchronization that makes the system
complicated [5], [6].
In asynchronous OCDMA systems, there is no need for chip
and bit synchronization between different users [3], [4] but the
number of active users in the system is less than the synchronous
The main difference between OCDMA and radio CDMA
is originated from the fact that intensity-based modulation in

1077-260X/$25.00 © 2007 IEEE

5. κ) ≤ . the total number of wavelengths Λ. There is not an exact expression for the number of codes in an OOC set but according to the Johnson bound [10]     ΛT − κ Λ ΛT − 1 ··· P (Λ. it is hard to analyze its impact.1404 IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN QUANTUM ELECTRONICS. and constant weight constructions [14]–[23]. (3) ω ω−1 ω−κ This is only an upper bound on the maximum number of possible codes in an OOC code set. and since it is a random process. Whether the upper bound is achievable or not is generally a question of code designing. i. At the receiving side. Moreover. The increase in the number of simultaneously active users in 2-D OCDMA scheme is quite remarkable. the MAI can increase the level of the transmitted “0” to be falsely detected as a “1. B. 1) The autocorrelation property: For every array xt in OOC. 1. while the other users’ decoders. named OOCs that are not completely orthogonal. NO. noise has a minor effect on the performance of OCDMA systems. where different rows of the array correspond to different wavelengths. Recently. is the main source of error in OCDMA. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 2) The cross-correlation property: For every pair of arrays xt and yt in OOC. C. satisfying the following properties. There has been new research on finding tighter bounds for OOCs [12]. Compared to the MAI. (1) where τ is an arbitrary time offset between codes. Schematic of an OCDMA system. All users are then multiplexed and sent over the fiber channel.” MAI is an inherent problem in OCDMA that limits the number of active users in the system. it is preferable to use codes. Since there are different OOC construction algorithms. The maximum collision parameter κ is the maximum number of allowed chip collisions of one code with itself or with another code in the code set. All possible arrays with the aforementioned properties make a 2-D OOC set shown by (Λ. the maximum number of allowed users will be more than 300 [38].e. so the number of codes will increase without the need for a larger code length. The size of a 2-D OOC set is defined by P (Λ. 1. A code that can achieve the Johnson bound is called an optimal code. in order to analyze the effects of MAI. VOL. In this family of codes. which is able to support a maximum of nine users with time spreading on one wavelength. are unable to detect the data. In this method. optimal code does not exist. is expanded to include eight wavelengths. A technique to increase the number of users is using more than one wavelength in OOCs. which is the effect of other users on the user of interest. is called asymptotically optimal. each bit is divided into smaller chip times and then illuminated with one out of a set of wavelengths. a construction algorithm to achieve this bound does not exist. T. there have been several demonstrations of 2-D time–wavelength OCDMA systems [9]–[11].. Other users (interferes) appear as cross-correlation (multiple access) interference. it should satisfy Λ−1 −1  T i=0 j =0 xij xi(j +τ ) ≤ κ. This limitation has been the reason of constructing a special type of codes for OCDMA. and amplifier spontaneous emission (ASE) noise that have been studied in [24]–[30]. ω. a general method to study MAI without considering a specific OOC is the probabilistic model based on random codes. A code that achieves Johnson bound. the user of interest which its decoder is complement of the encoder. To simplify the encoding/decoding schemes. [13]. 13. This semi-orthogonality limits the number of users in OCDMA systems. Multiple-Access Interference (MAI) There are several sources for noise in OCDMA systems such as thermal noise. MAI characteristics depend on the receiver structure [38]–[41]. k). ω. κ) notation. Optical Orthogonal Codes A 2-D OOC is shown in Fig. optical communications forces to employ unipolar signaling [7]. There is a large amount of research on code construction such as algebraic constructions. Multiwavelength or fast-wavelength hopping schemes use wavelength as another dimension to increase the number of users without increasing the number of chip times in an OCDMA system. 1. ω. the main user’s pulses are aligned on top of each other to reproduce the autocorrelation peak. (2) i=0 j =0 Fig. and maximum collision parameter κ. ω is less than or equal to Λ. An OOC set is a group of sequences of length T . they should satisfy Λ−1 −1  T xij yi(j +τ ) ≤ κ. T. if a 1-D code with a length of 125 chips and a weight of 5. which have at most one pulse per wavelength. A schematic of an OCDMA system is shown in Fig. After the correlation receiver. as T goes to infinity. in most cases. Therefore. T. MAI. An interference error causes a false positive detection. recursive constructions. however. T. shot noise. τ = kT. reproduce the autocorrelation peak and correctly recover the data. the resulted technique is named 2-D OCDMA [8]. constant weight w. w. which are not matched to the encoded bit. An input bit sequence is fed to the 2-D OCDMA encoder where the output of the encoder is a sequence of chip times resembling a 2-D OOC. κ). The effect of beat noise due to the square detection in the receiver in multiwavelength OCDMA systems has also been studied in [31]–[37]. For example. we need the analytical . for most code set design parameters (Λ. and the columns corresponding to the time slots are the spreading sequence [5]. however.

3. In the analytical model. we will investigate several techniques to increase one of the earlier parameters and study the tradeoff between these parameters. This has been shown in Fig. One suggestion was to use different codes as different symbols [43]. calculate the number of users. Each user must be synchronous to its corresponding transmitter which can be achieved by transmitting a predefined pattern known by the receiver. in order to analyze an OCDMA system. [4]. and ω and κ are design variables to optimize the number of users in the system. The duration of a symbol is then given by Ts = T Tc . 3. these models get accurate when the number of users and code dimensions are large. So. probability of error can be calculated by integrating the tail of the calculated pmf from threshold to infinity [3]. In the following sections. per has shown the experimental encoding/decoding of PPM in OCDMA without relating it to the system performance [48]. Other methods try to take advantage of PPM in OCDMA systems in [44]–[47]. 2. we split the signal between six branches. but the suggested systems have some inherent problems: 1) they have to use very short pulses. couple them together. Autocorrelation peak of the OCDMA appears in different chip times to represent different symbols for the PPM case. The spectral efficiency of an OCDMA system is defined as A × Rb (4) total bandwidth where A is the number of active users. Let Tc denote the chip time corresponding to the duration of a time slot and a chip rate of 1/Tc chips per second. increasing either of the parameters A or Rb results in decrement of the other parameter.: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF USERS AND BIT RATE IN OCDMA NETWORKS model of interference for a given OCDMA structure. S= III. however.WILLNER et al. the presence or absence of the signal marks a 1 or a 0. It should be emphasized that this synchronization is needed only for each transmitter and receiver pairs. to . which after the decoder. and modulate them at 10 Gchip/s with PPM data. Each symbol is represented by a specific time shift of the spreading sequence. but different users are asynchronous to each other. The spreading code of each user in a 2-D OCDMA system with Λ wavelengths and T time slots can be visualized as a 2-D (Λ × T ) {0. Usually. creates different shifts of the autocorrelation peak within the symbol time. ω. The size of the message alphabet under CPM is T . the parameter A × Rb provides an accurate metric to evaluate the system. we demonstrate a CPM OCDMA system with six active users with a simple structure that does not require extremely short pulses or cyclic code shifter. we investigate several methods to increase the number of bits per symbol in OCDMA systems. Λ and T are system restrictions. This has been done in wireless communication through various techniques [42]. and it is based only on code/transmitter/receiver structure. and total bandwidth is the required bandwidth considering the transmitted data spectrum plus guard bands between different wavelengths. In a threshold receiver. the transmitter sends the ith shift along the time axis of the its 2-D spreading code. The major problem of this method is the scaling of the hardware with increasing symbol per bits and the lack of required number of codes. One pa- 1405 Fig. In this section. In general. 1} array. In the CPM OCDMA system. 2) they require a cyclic code shifter in the transmitter that is difficult to implement. we assume different users and also adjacent symbols of a user are independent. Demonstration of a 2PPM OCDMA system with eight active users is also shown. The experimental setup for our OCDMA system is shown in Fig. Then we can calculate the pmf as a function of code parameters (Λ. 2. due to the increased signal processing functions. 3) they are limited to a specific code construction. While CPM can be employed in conjunction with either 1-D or 2-D OCDMA systems. respectively. and then. Fig. Rb is the bit rate. κ). Although spectral efficiency is not the main motivation of OCDMA systems. the discussion here will focus on the 2-D case. There have been some theoretical studies to use M -ary modulations on OCDMA systems. After an erbium-doped fiber amplifier (EDFA). In this section. One conventional method to analyze the MAI in OCDMA systems is to find the probability mass function (pmf) of the MAI [40]. T. Usually. after setting the threshold in the receiver (an approximate level of threshold is code weight). and 4) the performance of the proposed methods is not shown experimentally. the modeling does not consider the optical effects. each with a unique OCDMA encoder. an input bit stream is fed to a bit-tosymbol converter. M -ARY MODULATION IN OCDMA SYSTEMS TO INCREASE THE SPECTRAL EFFICIENCY One approach to increase the spectral efficiency is increasing the transmitted bits per symbol in an OCDMA system using more complex modulation schemes. which resembles the asymptotic performance of the network when the signal-to-noise ratio approaches infinity. We use eight equally spaced lasers. Moreover. each symbol is represented by various time shifts of the peak. A. we fix the received performance of the system at a certain bit error rate (BER). It should be noted that the performance of the system depends on the receiver structure. CPM system: input bit stream is converted to symbols. their adaptation to optics is not trivial. Code Position Modulation In conventional (OOK) OCDMA systems. and to send the ith symbol in the modulation alphabet.

16 chip times. Fig. 20. It should be emphasized that although the pmfs look the same. This is very important to observe that although different symbols are now out of their original boundaries and leaking together. 6(b) shows the percentage increase in spectral efficiency using CPM method compared to OOK OCDMA. (a) Modulated CPM data. Fig. power penalty is also increased but all six users are recoverable with a penalty Fig. and the position of each autocorrelation peak shows the transmitted symbol. B. 20). In order to decorrelate different users’ encoded data. they are completely separable in the decoder. 30. the scale is 1 ns/div. In Fig. and consequently. Fig. Fig. 13. even for “0” bits and 2) in CPM. It can be seen as the number of users is increased. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 Fig. VOL. resulting in a reduced number of users. due to the fact that our codes have at most one pulse per wavelength. there is a pulse twice the size of the other pulses. 4(b). Due to the CPM enhancement factor. The chip rate is 10 Gchip/s and the symbol rate is 625 Msymbol/s. since adjacent symbols are allowed to leak into each other. the collision can be more than one (at most there will be three collisions) that will increase the amount of MAI in the system. we have shown the pmf of the conventional OCDMA for 10. 15. OOK and the ideal curve. In order to show that the system can experimentally operate in the presence of various optical effects. always a pulse is transmitted. we used codes with 8 wavelengths. 5. in order to evaluate the total performance of the system we first need to find the number of active users that can operate at a certain BER. and the number of active users is reduced by a factor of 2.5 Gb/s. (b) Percent increase of PPM vs. received optical power. and 40 interferers. At the receiver. Each encoder is a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) that implements the splitting of the wavelengths and assigning each wavelength an appropriate time slot. 20. colliding chips have different wavelengths. It can be seen that the pmf of the interference for PPM OCDMA is almost equal to an OOK OCDMA with twice the number of users. the output of the encoders is transmitted through different short lengths of fiber. Analytical Model for CPM OCDMA Systems The major differences of the MAI in CPM and OOK OCDMA systems are: 1) in CPM case. using the same codes in CPM systems. generate data for six OCDMA users. and they can support 18 potential users. A simple . 4. (a) Comparison of probability distribution of interference in OOK OCDMA for number of active users (10. This can be seen in Fig. we amplify the received signal and use a second set of FBGs to decode the data. less than 8 dB. as bit per symbol is increased by log2 (T ). and a code weight of 6. Our codes are based on code construction in [49]. we had to use a code length of 4 that could limit the number of users [50]. 2) Modeling. all six users are recombined. due to the complete orthogonality of each user’s data to its various time shifts. 30. 10 where that each symbol is carrying four bits of information. the BER curves are shown where the received optical power is the power of the user of interest when the number of other users in the system increases. and w = 18 for ten and twenty interferers. and the pmf of the PPM OCDMA for 10 and 20 interferers for the same code set. 3. various shifts of the autocorrelation peak represents the symbols. T = 32. This property holds only if the codes have at most one pulse per wavelength. a photoreceiver detects the decoded symbols followed by a threshold detector that samples the data to determine whether it exceeds a certain decision threshold or not. however. and then find the spectral efficiency of the system from (4). In our experiment. NO. The codes is optimal in terms of the number of code sets. the equivalent bit rate is 2. BER vs. as shown in Fig.1406 IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN QUANTUM ELECTRONICS. the reason being that a pulse from the encoded symbol 15 and symbol 3 collide. 40) and PPM (10. 5. 5. In order to make a better comparison. 1) Ideal case: log2 (T )/2. which reduce the eye opening. we need to show the BER performance of the system. 4(a) shows the transmission of the bit steam 0001’1111’0011’1100’1010’ that corresponds to the symbol stream 1. So. Power penalties are due to increased MAI and additional noise in the system. 4(c) where the decoded symbols represent the original data. In a conventional OCDMA system with κ = 1. two codes may collide at most in one position. Finally. Rule of thumb: pmf of PPM is close to pmf of OOK with twice the number of users. and then. and they have at most one pulse per wavelength. (c) Decoded CPM OCDMA data. 6. the MAI within two users can be more than one collision. The encoded symbols can leak to adjacent symbol boundaries. (b) CPM OCDMA encoded data. the data are recoverable without any additional degradation. 4(a) shows the CPM data after the modulator. the tail of the PPM goes beyond the conventional OCDMA. 12. Fig. In the encoded chip stream. The dashed lines show the boundary of each symbol.5 Gb/s. for comparing CPM and conventional OCDMA. 6(a) shows pmf of MAI for a code with Λ = 24. however. It should be noted that for an OOK OCDMA system using the same chip rate and operating at 2.

7(a) and (b) shows the output of the decoder for a singleuser and an eight-user system. so it will be guaranteed that adjacent symbols of a user do not interfere with each other. estimation of the spectral efficiency increment is log2 (T )/2. which will degrade the BER performance. at least at one position MAI adds up. [52]. and finally. Major problem of the suggested systems is that they need a variable optical platform. While varying relative delays within different users will affect the performance. It is clear that Fig. while the conventional receiver samples only at the autocorrelation peak. As we can see. Therefore. we have used a code set with 16 chip times. 7(c) and (d). Providing variable QoS for different users in an OCDMA network has been an interesting topic of research. At the receiving side. Due to the 2PPM bit rate enhancement factor. 8. The autocorrelation peaks form 2PPM symbols every Ts seconds. and the number of active users is reduced by a factor of 2 (unlike OOK.: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF USERS AND BIT RATE IN OCDMA NETWORKS 1407 Fig. 7. [53]. received optical power of the user of interest. 2PPM An alternative implementation of CPM modulation is 2PPM [51]. The peaks within each symbol time represent the transmitted symbol. 2PPM is an effective way to increase the symbol per bit or equivalently the bit rate of an OCDMA system. we used codes with 12 wavelengths. Fig. 2PPM can be generalized to multiple pulse position modulation (MPPM) in which N slots are marked by autocorrelation peaks. Fig. the equivalent bit rate is 10 Gb/s. BER vs. In order to experimentally demonstrate this technique. and since each . The chip rate is 24 Gchip/s and the symbol rate is 1. although the level of MAI in the eight-user scenario is very high. in order to change the QoS in those systems. Power penalty vs. we expect them to have the same trends.5 Gsymbol/s. and weight 8. received optical power. we will have transmissions for “0” bits). there is a very small amount of penalty for two and three users. resulting in Tc = Ts /M . and some structures have been recommended [38]. the symbol-to-bit converter extracts the bits based on the position of the autocorrelation peaks. The chip rate is set to 10 Gchips/s. 10 wavelengths. This reason is that for less than three users. the eye is still open and data can be recovered by using a proper threshold. (c) and (d) Eye diagrams of the received autocorrelation for single user and eight users. This will increase the probability of error and consequently limits the number of simultaneous active users. a user should change its signature code or bit rate whereas the variable MPPM method offers a variable bit rate that can be translated into variable QoS without changing the parameters of pulsewidth.WILLNER et al. optical spectrum. the number of symbols will be equal to the number of ways we can choose N slots out of a total of T slots. The eye diagram of the recovered data is shown in Fig. It also shows that the spectral efficiency increment decreases more as the number of chip times increases. because the number of bits per symbol is increased by log2 (T ). (b) Decoded data—single user: boundaries of each symbol is shown with dotted lines. while for four users and more. Similar to CPM. while the penalty starts to ramp up when the number of users exceeds four. 8 shows the BER vs. each symbol is represented by two autocorrelation peaks within the symbol duration. the probability that different pulses of MAI add up to each other is very low. Another issue to be mentioned is that these BERs are taken for a snapshot of the network (for one set of delays). We can combine all variants of PPM to achieve variable bit rate in OCDMA systems [61]. 16 chip times. which is far more than the chip times in [44]. The analysis from modeling shows less increment in spectral efficiency. the OCDMA decoder correlates the received signal with its own signature code every Tc seconds. Using 2PPM. The experimental setup is the same as the experimental setup explained earlier with 12 wavelengths. 9. Two peaks within each symbol time represents the transmitted symbol. The code length is set equal to the number of slots. In our experiment. the chip time will exactly be the same as that in an OOK OCDMA system. In other words. Fig. So. and a weight of 6. (a) 2PPM encoded data of user (chip rate 24 Gchip/s). and the optical setup that includes encoders/decoders and chip rate. C. This is due to the following two reasons: 1) the increased tail of the MAI due to CPM and 2) the CPM receiver needs to sample on every chip time. In 2PPM. 9 shows the power penalty as the number of users increases. we allow each encoded symbol to spread over the next symbol to solve the problem of implementing cyclic code shifter and the signature codes have at most one pulse per wavelength. the number of users in the system. we demonstrate an OCDMA system supporting eight users each at 10 Gb/s. and Fig.

one can check for the presence of all the chips that make up the code. for example. It can be seen that increasing the number of wavelengths is more effective than increasing the number of chip times in a hard-limiting receiver because for an optimized code weight. We have implemented different number of users operating with different symbol types. 12. Missing-Chip Detection In principle. the corresponding bit rates are 2. Therefore. Near–Far Effect Fig. respectively. or there could have been high-power interference from an interfering user that is closer to the receiver. the symbol rate is equal to 625 Msymbols/s. The PPM users are added one by one in the system. 12 compares the number of active users in a system using a hard limiter versus conventional receiver for different code parameters. Optical filters (tuned to the wavelengths employed by the user of interest) and optical delay lines are used to respread the gated autocorrelation peak into individual chips positioned at predetermined locations. In this case. The presence of any missing chips indicates a “0” bit. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 Fig. 13.7 Gb/s.” As shown in Fig. Hard-limiting concept: limiting each time–wavelength bin to a single pulse decreases the MAI tremendously (gray squares are the bins that receiver look at). the number of 1PPM users to achieve various combinations of users operating at different bit rates. and 5.” MAI from interfering users may populate some of the respread . the clipped interference might have been MAI from multiple users. IV.” symbol takes 16 chips. Missing chip detection: the autocorrelation peak is respread. Fig.5. and then. and the performance is theoretically analyzed [55]. [56]. for PPM OCDMA (N = 1). (a) User of interest transmitting “1” in the absence of MAI. Our scheme provides versatility in that when there is low traffic demand in the network. NO. Fig. it can be concluded that the particular bit being tested was a “0. HARD-LIMITTING RECEIVER A combinatorial approach to calculate the number of users in an OCDMA system using hard-limiting receiver is shown in [40] (see Fig. As is seen from the figure. Fig. the total power in the gated window can become higher than the threshold. VOL.” Other techniques for hard limiting are proposed to enable chip-level detection.3. hard-limiting receiver limits the magnitude of the incoming pulses to a fixed level of magnitude corresponding to a single time–wavelength bin. But if the interfering user has higher power in its chips compared to the user of interest. adding a higher-bit-rate user in the system reduces the number of potential low-bit-rate users. and 3PPM OCDMA (N = 3). Instead of comparing the autocorrelation magnitude to a preset threshold (conventional technique). (b) User of interest transmitting “0” but MAI is present. 11. 10. 2PPM OCDMA (N = 2). 10. All-optical sampling of these positions provides an indication of missing chips. when some users are not active in the network.” This condition can occur if the interfering user is “nearer” to the receiver than is the user of interest.1408 IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN QUANTUM ELECTRONICS. conventional receiver detects “1” and hard limiter detects “0. 13. 4. B. If the interfering user has the same or less power than the user of interest. the missing chips are detected using all-optical sampling. 11). 5. If the sampling process reveals the absence of a chip at any of the possible positions. Power penalty vs. the bit is erroneously decoded as a “1. We name the technique to accomplish the aforementioned goals the “missing chip detection. the threshold will not be exceeded as long as the number of active users in the network is within the bounds placed by the code parameters. A. and power penalty is measured and shown in Fig. OCDMA networks may suffer from the near–far problem [54]. if the user of interest transmitted a “0. a hard-limiting receiver is mainly restricted by the number of codes in the code set instead of the interference. a user can benefit the available bandwidth and switch to higher PPM to operate at a higher bit rate. Hard-limiting-based improvement ratio in the number of active users for codes with different number of wavelengths and different number of chip times at a BER of 10−9 . The receiver implements a novel technique for all-optical hard limiting. 13.

it is not possible to check all the different delays between users. 15.5 to ensure that only when all six intended chips are present will the system consider the signal as a “1” bit. spaced 200 ps apart. in the absence of MAI. Fig. However. the data is taken only for the situation where there is a complete collision between two users. 16. MAI tolerance is increased by ∼6 dB. some respread positions might be occupied even for a “0” bit. 14. At the SOA’s output.WILLNER et al. The power for the sampling pulses is maintained low while that of the OCDMA data is kept high. Fig.: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF USERS AND BIT RATE IN OCDMA NETWORKS 1409 Fig. In such a configuration. all four pulses will emerge at the SOA output. 17(a) shows the experimental results for one. from Fig. a conventional thresholding receiver will not be able to recover these data without errors. Comparison of missing chip detection and conventional receiver. the worst case scenario occurs when five interferers create a false autocorrelation peak of weight 5. As a result. therefore. We must set the threshold at ∼5. The experimental implementation (Fig. 15. there will be at least one missing chip per “0” bit that will manifest itself at the output in the form of a pulse. and the levels vary as MAI varies in the link. as shown in Fig. Top patterns show the respread OCDMA signal. 16. with and without interference. the conventional thresholding receiver cannot maintain a BER <10−9 for MAI chip power 1 dB greater than the user of interest. an ideal threshold value for a single user with a weight of six is 3. As an example. Then. whenever a chip is present in the OCDMA data. In the sample pattern of Fig. Experimental patterns for missing chip detection technique. it is clear that since the MAI chips are much larger in amplitude than those of the user of interest. a bandpass filter is used to recover the sampling pulses. thereby suppressing the corresponding sampling pulse propagating through the SOA. This pulse stream is synchronized with the pulses from the respread OCDMA data and coupled into the SOA. Fig. As shown in Fig. As an example. even under such a condition. it saturates the SOA’s gain. each pulse emerging at the SOA’s output indicates a missing chip for that particular bit. Thus. 14. Experimental setup. These positions are sampled by pulses from the mode-locked laser. while for a “0” bit. This goes on to prove that the process of MCD mitigates the “near–far” problem since it can tolerate higher MAI levels. only those sampling pulses emerge at the output that do not have a corresponding pulse in the respread OCDMA signal. in a system with six users (user of interest and five interferes). For a “1” bit. the proposed technique generates missing-chip indicators with an open eye diagram. In the presence of MAI.5 dB power penalty for maintaining a BER = 10−9 . ANALYSIS OF THE OPTIMUM DECISION THRESHOLD Adjusting the threshold can be an important factor in the number of users that the system can support. In the experiment. 15.” This is a demonstration of all-optical hard limiting since only the presence of all the chips in the user’s code can suppress all sampling pulses. all pulses are suppressed. The vacant chip positions are left untouched and can be detected as missing chips through the sampling process. However. The experimental patterns obtained for a bit sequence of “1001” are shown in Fig. For 1 dB greater MAI chip power. Due to MAI. the received signal is multilevel. the average of 6 chips for “1” bits and 0 chips for “0” bits. where each user has code weight of 6 (six pulses per bit). and three users. while the MCD technique can extend the error-free window beyond 7 dB. meaning that the BER is taken for a single user case. MAI causes suppression of the third and fourth sampling pulses for the second bit. A nonoptimal threshold can severely limit the system performance and the number of users at a certain BER. the conventional receiver suffers a power penalty >8 dB. but the first two pulses emerge at the output indicating that the bit under consideration was a “0. this does not result in an optimal BER when the number of transmitting users changes. while the MCD technique exhibits only 0. V. Also. and the corresponding pulses will be suppressed at the SOA output. 15. other users are added with a fixed delay with respect to . 14) of all-optical hard limiting through the process of multiple clock disabling (MCD) relies on using cross-gain modulation (XGM) in a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA) to perform the sampling process. Bottom patterns show the SOA output (missing chip indicators). Pulses from a mode-locked laser (λs = 1540 nm) are broadened to 20 ps FWHM using an optical filter and modulated with a repetitive pattern to obtain four sampling pulses per bit. chip positions but there will be at least one chip position that remains vacant. However. The chips in the autocorrelation peak are spectrally separated and respread to specific temporal positions. two.

We then readjust the threshold to the optimal value for single and two active users. and the BER is again taken without changing the threshold. The threshold level that corresponds to the minimum power is the optimum threshold. Adaptive threshold results in significant sensitivity enhancement. (b) Threshold fixed for three active users—two users and single user are taken. the chips time– wavelength pulses of the user are aligned on top of each other. 17. The experiment is done while the electrical amplitude of the signal is fixed to 1 V. As the number of active users in the system increases. 18. This figure shows that there is a clear distinction in the range of the RF power as the number of active users changes from one to three. the threshold level varies. This is a signal that is not an RZ signal anymore and it is spread over time. the threshold level is set to a higher value. we find the minimum power to achieve the BER of 10−9 by varying the threshold level. two. the cross-correlation peak is higher. RF spectra for two cases. so by changing the control voltage. which leads to a less dynamic range and higher sensitivity to the threshold. and the threshold is optimized to provide minimum BER when three users are active (triangles). Fig. and then reoptimized for one or two active users. As the “extra-user” data has passed through the decoder for a nonmatching user. so they are spread all over the bit period. The reason is that the asynchronous delay between users. can resemble the delay in the three-user case. It should be noted that the optical power for different families of curves are different. which does not precisely determine the number of users. such that the threshold level can be placed near an optimal point (suboptimal estimation). we keep the optical power constant and vary the threshold and measure the BER. the number of active users. however. Estimating the number of active users in the system can provide us a feedback to control the threshold at the receiver. after the decoder. particularly for high-user-count OCDMA systems. three. In a single-user OCDMA case. 19. and vary the threshold and determine the respective BER. and the error rate becomes more sensitive to the threshold. the electrical voltage after the photoreceiver is kept constant using electrical attenuator after photoreceiver. This technique of polarization coding can significantly increase . the original RZ signal is detected along with shifted bits from other users. and so on. the first user having a complete collision (100 ps pulse collision) with the first user. the V shape curves get narrower. and accordingly. (b) Four users. as the RF power level top spectrum shows the 5 GHz component when only one user is active (5 GHz tone at −23 dBm) and the bottom where four users are active (∼−38 dBm). when there are four users operating in the system.1410 IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN QUANTUM ELECTRONICS. BER of those families cannot be compared with each other for a fixed threshold. for some specific delays between the users. In this scenario. Fig. so the spectrum becomes narrower. In all cases. NO. We use polarization as the third degree of freedom when generating OCDMA user codes. 19(a) shows the RF spectrum for two cases where the 5 GHz component level is changing ∼15 dBm. 5. we have strong RF harmonics in all multiples of the bit rate frequency. We then fix the optical power at this minimum power. Such a 3-D user code uses the two polarization states along with chip times and discrete wavelengths to satisfy autocorrelation and cross-correlation conditions in OCDMA systems [57]. the RF power levels for three and four active users overlap slightly. resulting in the curve denoted by circles. This is due to the fact that as the number of users increases. but rather estimate it within a small range. Fig. It is also important to observe that as the number of users increases. VI. 5 GHz RF tone power vs. their pulses are not aligned on top of each other. (a) Single user. resulting in decreased RF tone power. We believe this is not a significant issue. for any number of active users. 18 shows the relative measured RF power of the 5 GHz component for various delays between asynchronous users for the cases of one. 3-D TIME–WAVELENGTH–POLARIZATION OCDMA Another technique to increase the number of users is to take advantage of the fact that light can be transmitted on two orthogonal polarization states. It can be seen that the RF power at 5 GHz is highly correlated with the number of active user in the system. threshold level for varying number of users. VOL. Fig. One user is then deactivated. and four active users. (a) Experimental results for BER vs. Fig. At this point. We can see that the optimal threshold for two-user case has ∼4 dB better sensitivity. so the error margin gets narrower. 13. Our threshold detector is voltage-controlled. 17(b) shows our BER results as we vary the decision threshold for three active users. and subsequently. and the postdetection signal resembles a return-to-zero (RZ) signal with a duty cycle equal to the bit rate divided by the chip rate. using variable electrical attenuators after the photoreceiver. In the experiment. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 Fig.

there is no requirement that all users’ codes use identical polarization axes. wavelenght. 20. INTERFERENCE-AVOIDANCE-BASED PROTOCOL FOR OCDMA NETWORKS A critical limitation of OCDMA networks is the reduction of throughput when many users are attempting to simultaneously transmit over the same medium. offering an enhanced performance for OCDMA systems. and a polarization (the encoded data bit in Fig. and the full 3-D encoder/decoder system. when several users transmit simultaneously. state estimation. and a decoder on each arm of the polarization controller decodes the data. User data encoded in time.8 dB.8 dB penalty to receiver sensitivity at 10−9 BER. the time chips are reassembled into a single data pulse using a decoder. polarization splitters. Included are the receiver sensitivity plots for each polarization separately after decoding (with the other polarization inactive). 20(b). networks can suffer from congestion collapse when the network throughput approaches to zero under extremely high loads. At the input stage of the receiver. Power penalty is ∼1. The output of encoder for each polarization [arbitrarily assigned perpendicular (⊥) and parallel (||) designations].: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF USERS AND BIT RATE IN OCDMA NETWORKS Fig. We design the code such that the number of common chips at the receiver between users remains constant regardless of the alignment of their polarizations. Each receiver is configured with delay lines.e. there has been a theoretical report on an OCDMA network protocol called IA that helps manage congestion and maintains a relatively high throughput even under extreme loads [59]. and hence. and the curve for the final 1 Gb/s data after ANDing the two decoded/thresholded data streams together. There is a tradeoff between the number of total and simultaneous users when generating a code set. the number of users in 3-D has been compared with 2-D case in Fig. i. We emphasize that this technique is not a polarization division multiplexing technique where a given code exists just in a single polarization state but a true 3-D approach. The system shows ∼1. 22. By adding a third dimension to the system. increasing the number of allowed collisions κ increases the number of potential users while it decreases the number of simultaneously active users.WILLNER et al. and polarization. and transmission scheduling. A key advantage of the 3-D system is that it is polarization-rotation invariant between users—while it is necessary for a given user’s receiver to be able to lock on to its orthogonal polarization states (perhaps using a test signal at packet preamble. the effects of interference from other users will remain approximately the same regardless of the alignment of their polarization axes. wavelength. are shown in Fig. The BER curves for the system are shown in Fig. The protocol consists of two different functionalities. In 3-D OCDMA. thereby producing extreme congestion at high network loads. 21 (a) 3-D OCDMA encoder results. Using the same code length. under the condition that the polarization states do not overly couple. This condition would hold within a typical OCDMA LAN environment using polarization maintaining (PM) fiber. 21(a) (⊥) and (b) (||) for a single bit. A conceptual diagram of our 3-D OCDMA system is shown in Fig. their packets. 1411 Fig. and broadcast to all users on the OCDMA LAN. the number of users. 22. 20. the curves for each polarization’s encoder and decoder setup when both polarizations are active. the number of users is roughly equal to 2κ [40]. and a threshold detector/decision circuit is used to convert the pulse into standard nonreturn-to-zero (NRZ) data. (a) Conceptual diagram for our 3-D OCDMA system. i. and filters in such away that it is matched to that user of interest. transmitted at 1 Gb/s. The encoder splits the incoming bit into chips. the optical attenuator was placed prior to the polarization beam splitter. Encoded data patterns for perpendicular and parallel encoders after encoding a single data bit. when we use the code shown in Fig. we can generate codes sets that support more users than a corresponding 2-D system could with the same κ. BER curves for the 3-D OCDMA system. To ensure a balanced BER.. State estimation is a mechanism by which nodes on the network estimate the state . VII. At the receiver. BER for the single polarization cases with and without both polarizations active. their code words overlap [58]. as polarizations within the shortdistance LAN structure generally remain stable). (b) Increase in total supported users (compared to a 2-D OCDMA system) as the maximum collision parameter κ of a 3-D code set increases.. In fact. 20. Standard 2-D OCDMA code sets are generated based on the principle of maximizing either the total or simultaneous number of users. 1 has been expanded for clarity) and then the encoded data from all users is broadcasted across the network using a passive star coupler. and each chip is assigned a specific time slot. a polarization beam splitter decompose to polarizations.e. Fig. The differences in sensitivity of the polarizations is the result of nonidentical receivers for the two decoder branches. ensuring a constant BER. Recently.

Without using a media access protocol. VOL. 25(c) shows a random delay of the user that causes severe eye closure. The arrival rate is defined as the aggregate rate at which packets arrive at all the nodes for transmission on the network. the BER of the system drops below 10−3 for five and six users. 25(a) shows the eye diagram of the autocorrelation function of a single user. Performance of an OCDMA system for increasing the number of users with transmission scheduling. each user starts to transmit whenever its packet is ready. This will have some overhead on the control system. 24. The results show that as the offered load increases. Fig. we fixed the optical power and changed the delay of different users to emulate different link state. The other path is used to estimate the state of the link. we can maintain the desired performance for an increased number of users. normalized offered load for Aloha-CDMA and transmission scheduling. IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN QUANTUM ELECTRONICS. it is decoded by the OCDMA receiver and is then written to the receiving buffer. The OCDMA transmitter transmits the packet on the transmit fiber. When a packet arrives on the receiving fiber. NO. The normalized network throughput is the ratio of the number of packets that are transmitted over the network without error to the total number of packets offered for transmission multiplied by the normalized offered load. (c) Random case.1412 Fig. the chip rate is 10 Gchip/s. In order to compare the performance of the IA algorithm with Aloha-CDMA. and worst case. The normalized offered load is the arrival rate (in packets per second) expressed as a fraction of the maximum possible arrival rate of the network when it is used as a single-channel network. The results are shown in Fig. eye diagram of the main user along with multiple interferers. We then changed the delay of the user of interest to find the optimum delay that can achieve the BER of 10−10 at the least possible optical power. so at the beginning of each packet. A simplified block diagram of an OCDMA node with IA is shown in Fig. and then. at this point. 23. In one path. the throughput of Aloha-CDMA tends to zero. while using IA algorithm. 26. tunes the TDLs. while using the IA algorithm prevents throughput degradation. Each node is equipped with two transmitting and receiving fibers. It should be noted that the optimization is done on each packet. In order to experimentally evaluate this algorithm. we first fixed the number of users and the state of the link. The result of the simulation is shown in Fig. IA is a contention media access control mechanism that prevents throughput collapse in OCDMA networks at high offered load. 23. . An IA-based OCDMA network was modeled in [59] using discrete-event-based packet simulator. Transmission scheduling is a mechanism by which nodes use the estimated state to schedule their transmissions to avoid packet losses due to interference. (b) Multiple users using transmission scheduling. 13. Fig. the performance drops as the number of users increases in the network. 25. the node analyzes the link. Fig. In this case. we used our generic OCDMA setup with the capability to change the delay of our user of interest at the transmitter. 24. the transmission scheduling block calculates the appropriate transmission delay. 5. the use of a media access protocol “IA” is proposed. (a) Single user. The normalized network throughput vs. Based on this information. transmits its packet with the optimum delay. it is split between two different paths. In this experiment. It is clear that by changing the transmission delay of this user. using Aloha-CDMA. The average BER resembles the Aloha-CDMA. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2007 Block diagram of an IA network interface card (NIC). changed the user of interest delay to emulate the Aloha-CDMA. the autocorrelation can move to any point of time. which leads to congestion collapse in an OCDMA network. Aloha-CDMA. 26. and it can be seen that in the worst case. the position of the autocorrelation is optimized resulting in an open eye. and then. 25(b) shows the Fig. Fig. Fig. the assumption is that the state of the link is not varying within each packet. of the link. and signals the transmitter. and the corresponding bit rate is 625 Mb/s [60]. the OCDMA node estimates the link state based on its downlink. Moreover. To alleviate this problem. Eye diagram of the correlation for three cases. Since the output of the star coupler is identical on all receiving links. This is called Aloha-CDMA. The simulator modeled multiple nodes on a broadcast shared medium OCDMA LAN.

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