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When we talk about optical communication, most people think about optical-fiber. But optical communication is also possible without optical-fiber. We know that light travels through air for a lot less money. This makes possible the optical communication without optical-fiber. Optical communication without fiber is known as Free Space Optics. It is used due to economic advantages. Since the introduction of internet the backbone traffic is increasing at the rate greater than 100%, hence the owner of the backbone infrastructure (which is entirely based on fiber optics) are eagerly embracing technologies that add of the capacity of the fiber optics without adding mountains of optical cables. FSO is not a new idea. 30-years back optical-fiber cables are used for high-speed communication. In those days FSO are used for high-speed connectivity over short distances. Today’s FSO can carry full-duplex data at gigabit-per-second rates over metropolitan distances.
so it is fair to classify Free Space Optics as optical communications at the speed of light. voice and video communications through the air. Light travels through air faster than it does through glass. allowing optical connectivity without requiring fiber-optic cable or securing spectrum licenses. Each FSO unit uses a high-power optical source (i. laser). It's based on connectivity between FSO units. Free Space Optics (FSO) technology is relatively simple. which can be focused by using either light emitting diodes (LEDs) or lasers (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Currently.What is Free Space Optics (FSO)? Free Space Optics (FSO) is a line-of-sight technology that uses lasers to provide optical bandwidth connections.5 Gbps of data. Free Space Optics are capable of up to 2. the only difference is the medium. plus a lens that transmits light through the atmosphere to another lens receiving the information. each consisting of an optical transceiver with a laser transmitter and a receiver to provide full duplex (bi-directional) capability. The use of lasers is a simple concept similar to optical transmissions using fiber-optic cables.e. The receiving lens connects to a . Free Space Optics require light.
HOW FREE SPACE OPTICS (FSO) WORKS Free Space Optics (FSO) transmits invisible. FSO is easily upgradeable. Commercially available systems offer capacities in the range of 100 Mbps to 2. video images. The beams of light in Free Space Optics (FSO) systems are transmitted by laser light focused on highly sensitive photon detector receivers. FSO technology requires no spectrum licensing. eye-safe light beams from one "telescope" to another using low power infrared lasers in the teraHertz spectrum. which helps service providers protect their investment in embedded telecommunications infrastructures.5 Gbps.high-sensitivity receiver via optical fiber. Free Space Optics (FSO) systems can function over . radio signals or computer files. These receivers are telescopic lenses able to collect the photon stream and transmit digital data containing a mix of Internet messages. and demonstration systems report data rates as high as 160 Gbps. and its open interfaces support equipment from a variety of vendors.
and enough transmitter power. Light Beam Used for FSO System Generally equipment works at one of the two wavelengths: 850 nm or 1550 nm.distances of several kilometers. Laser for 850 nm are much less . while the extremely narrow laser beam widths ensure that there is almost no practical limit to the number of separate Free Space Optics (FSO) links that can be installed in a given location. As long as there is a clear line of sight between the source and the destination. AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT Unlike radio and microwave systems. interference from or to other systems or equipment is not a concern. and therefore secure. Data rates comparable to optical fiber transmission can be carried by Free Space Optics (FSO) systems with very low error rates. Free Space Optics (FSO) is an optical technology and no spectrum licensing or frequency coordination with other users is required. and the point-to-point laser signal is extremely difficult to intercept. Free Space Optics (FSO) communication is possible FSO: WIRELESS.
1550 nm can become quite attractive. to fully leverage their backbone . by about two orders of magnitude. So for high data rates. or combinations of those conditions. Essentially. being mostly absorbed by the cornea. poor propagation conditions (like fog). This requires substantial bandwidth upgrades at the network edge. However. and they have also increased the capacity of these large backbone networks. Infrared radiation at 1550 nm tends not to reach the retina of the eye. to generate the communications traffic and revenue needed to fully utilize and pay for these backbone upgrades. distance. One question arises that why we use 1550 nm wavelength. long distances. higher bandwidth connections must reach the end customers. The main reason revolves around power. Why FSO Now? Substantial investments by carriers to augment the capacity of their core fiber backbones have facilitated dramatic improvements in both price and performance. and eye safety.expensive (around $30 versus more than $1000) and are favored for applications over moderate distances. That power can boost link lengths by a factor of at least five while maintaining adequate strength for proper link operation. 1550 nm beams operate at higher power than 850 nm.
Increased competition: Regulation changes and significant investments by various funds have increased the competitive climate in these metro networks. Each of the existing or new entrants is racing to gain an advantage over their competition.investments. FSO is one of the evolutionary technologies that allows a carrier to acquire and retain new customers quickly and cost-effectively. most countries are experiencing tremendous growth in bandwidth needs. FSO presents an opportunity that allows carriers to achieve that goal for one-fifth the cost when compared to fiber (if even available) and at a fraction of the time. Metro optical networks are expected to see $57. In growing economies like Latin America and China—where the ability to have high-bandwidth connectivity outweighs standards for reliability—the lack of infrastructure and rising bandwidth demands offers a unique opportunity for FSO. .3 billion invested by 2005. Internet-based International growth: Due to the growing number of applications. service providers will also need to expand and extend the reach of their metropolitan optical network to the edge. thereby gaining an entry point over competition.
IP. Wireless world: With the rapid adoption and slow deployment of wireless technologies such as LMDS and MMDS in response to high bandwidth communication needs in the metro area. it is important to understand the key drivers for FSO. many service providers still find themselves short of bandwidth to satisfy their needs. ESCON. FICON. and. SONET. As a Layer One technology. these networks are also a mixture of multiple protocols ranging from Ethernet. to complete Sonet rings. etc. FSO is protocol agnostic. Moreover.Metro Network Extensions Carriers can deploy FSO to extend existing metropolitan-area fiber rings. Some of them are as follows – 1:. To better understand this growing need for FSO. Changing traffic patterns and protocol standards: Multiple traffic types characterize metro networks. to connect new networks. data has emerged as the winner. . Where voice was once the dominant traffic type. Applications of FSO The applications of free-space-optics are many. in their core infrastructure.
3:. 5:.Backhaul FSO can be used to carry cellular telephone traffic from antenna towers back to facilities wired into the public switched telephone network.Service Acceleration FSO can be also used to provide instant service to fiberoptic customers while their fiber infrastructure is being laid. 4:.2:.Fiber Backup FSO may also be deployed in redundant links to backup fiber in place of a second fiber link. .Enterprise Connectivity the ease with which FSO links can be installed makes them a natural for interconnecting local-area network segments that are housed in buildings separated by public streets or other right-of-way property.Last-Mile Access FSO can be used in high-speed links that connect endusers with internet service providers or other networks. 6:. It can also be used to bypass local-loop systems to provide business with high-speed connections.
.FSO: Optical or Wireless? FSO is clearly an optical technology and not a wireless technology for two primary reasons. Two.5 Gbps and in the future 10 Gbps using WDM. FSO obviates the need to buy expensive spectrum (it requires no FCC or municipal license approvals). One. Thus. FSO enables optical transmission at speeds of up to 2. FSO should not be classified as a wireless technology. This is not possible using any fixed wireless/RF technology existing today. Its similarity to conventional optical solutions will enable a seamless integration of access networks with optical core networks and help to realize the vision of an all-optical network. which distinguishes it clearly from fixed wireless technologies.
Free Space Optics (FSO) is far more secure than RF or other wirelessbased transmission technologies for several reasons: Free Space Optics (FSO) laser beams cannot be Free Space Optics (FSO) laser transmissions are detected with spectrum analyzers or RF meters optical and travel along a line of sight path that cannot be intercepted easily. making them harder to find and even harder to intercept and crack Data can be transmitted over an encrypted connection adding to the degree of security available in Free Space Optics (FSO) network transmissions Challenges To Free-Space Optics . In fact. It requires a matching Free Space Optics (FSO) transceiver carefully aligned to complete the transmission. The laser beams generated by Free Space Optics (FSO) systems are narrow and invisible. Interception is very difficult and extremely unlikely.Free-Space Optics (FSO) Security The common perception of wireless is that it offers less security than wireline connections.
Fiber-optic cable and FSO share many similarities. These air pockets act like prisms and lenses with time varying properties. FSO is also a line-of-sight technology and interconnecting points must be free from physical obstruction and able to "see" each other. FSO uses an open medium (the atmosphere) that is subject to its own potential outside disturbances. Such turbulence is caused by wind and temperature gradients that create pockets of air with rapidly varying densities and therefore fast changing indices of optical refraction. However.Scintillation Scintillation is best defined as the temporal and spatial variations in light intensity caused by atmospheric turbulence. 1:. gnawing rodents and even sharks when deployed under sea. which can affect an FSO system's capacity. Networks with FSO must be designed to counter the atmosphere. there is a difference in how each technology transmits information. . While fiber uses a relatively predictable medium that is subject to outside disturbances from wayward construction backhoes. Their action is readily observed in the twinkling of stars in the night sky and the shimmering of horizon on a hot day.
2:.Mie-scattering It is the scattering of beam due to fog. Most probably. . These are mounted in the same housing. Spatial diversity also helps to deal with scattering. all the parallel beams will encounter the same pocket of turbulence since the scintillation pockets are usually quite small. Other atmospheric disturbances. there seems to be some evidence that mie-scattering is slightly lower at 1550-nm than at 850-nm. It is largely a matter of boosting the transmitted power. But some studies shows that scattering is independent of the wavelength under heavy fog conditions. it is unlikely that in traveling to the receiver . or link head. like snow and especially rain. In areas with frequent heavy fogs. at least one of the beams will arrive at the target node with adequate strength to be properly received.FSO communications systems deal with scintillation by sending the same information from several separate laser transmitters. This approach is called Spatial Diversity. Also. it is often necessary to choose 1550-nm lasers because of the higher power permitted at that wavelength. separated from one another by distances of about 200 mm. are less of a problem for free-space optics than fog.
the transmitted beam is purposely allowed to diverge. Beam Divergence With beam divergence.3:. The problem of swaying buildings can be dealt with in two ways. Active Tracking This method is used when the link heads are mounted on the top of extremely tall buildings or towers. the typical free-space optics light beam subtends an angle of 3-6 milliradians (10-20 minutes of arc) and will have a diameter of 3-6 meters after traveling 1 kilometer. Depending on product design. divergence alone can deal with many perturbations. or spread. . so that by the time it arrives at the receiving link head. it forms a fairly large optical cone.Swaying Buildings One of the more common difficulties that arises when deploying free-space optics links on tall buildings or towers is sway due to wind or seismic activities. Both storms and earthquakes can cause buildings to move enough to affect beam aiming. If the receiver is initially positioned at the center of the beam.
to provide for greater availability. and transmissions are easily and automatically resumed. It is more sophisticated and costly than beam divergence method.Physical Obstructions Flying birds can temporarily block a single beam.Safety To those unfamiliar with FSO. but this tends to cause only short interruptions. 6:. LightPointe uses multi-beam systems (spatial diversity) to address this issue. The two major concerns involve human exposure to laser beams (which present . safety is often a concern because the technology uses lasers for transmission. A feedback mechanism continuously adjust the mirrors so that the beams stay on target. 5:. as well as other atmospheric conditions. The proper use and safety of lasers have been discussed since FSO devices first appeared in laboratories more than two decades ago. is based on perception more than reality. This concern. however.Active tracking is based on movable mirrors that control the direction in which the beams are launched.
Optical-fibers are too costly. a service provider can be generating revenue while a fiber-based competitor is still seeking municipal approval to dig up a street to lay its cable. Connecting the buildings with opticalfiber cost US $100000 . To install fiber you have to dig the road. . and sometimes destroy historical areas.$200000/km in metropolitan areas. they cause traffic jams (which increase air pollution). Street trenching and digging are not only expensive. Using FSO. 85 percent of the total figure tied to trenching and installation. Standards have been set for laser safety and performance and FSO systems comply with these standards.much more danger to the eyes than any other part of the human body) and high voltages within the laser systems and their power supplies. Advantages Of Free-Space Optics The FSO system requires less than one fifth of the capital outlay of comparable ground-based fiber-optic technologies. displace trees.
5 Gbps and beyond) increasing exponentially for the past few years. and low cost. and FSO offers service providers the opportunity to accomplish this objective. It is flexible. The primary advantages of FSO are high throughput. and is fast (speeds from Demand for bandwidth is increasing and has been 20 Mbps to 2. solid security. Conclusion . Service providers have been struggling to keep up with such demand. offers freedom. Service providers must extend the reach of metro optical networks.
Instead of hybrid fiber-coax system. . hybrid fiber-laser system may turn out to be the best way to deliver the high capacity last-mile access. and throughput. FSO can be the ultimate solution for highspeed access.The entire face of the Free-Space Optics community is about to change radically as driven by the need for high-speed local loop connectivity and the costs and difficulties of deploying fibers. FSO is capable to fulfill the increasing demand of bandwidth. FSO provide higher security.
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