This thesis investigates and analyses the performance of terrestrial free-space optical communication (FSO) system based on the phase shift keying pre-modulated subcarrier intensity modulation (SIM). The results are theoretically and experimentally compared with the classical On-Off keying (OOK) modulated FSO system in the presence of atmospheric turbulence. The performance analysis is based on the bit error rate (BER) and outage probability metrics. Optical signal traversing the atmospheric channel suffers attenuation due to scattering and absorption of the signal by aerosols, fog, atmospheric gases and precipitation. In the event of thick fog, the atmospheric attenuation coefficient exceeds 100 dB/km, this potentially limits the achievable FSO link length to less than 1 kilometre. But even in clear atmospheric conditions when signal absorption and scattering are less severe with a combined attenuation coefficient of less than 1 dB/km, the atmospheric turbulence significantly impairs the achievable error rate, the outage probability and the available link margin of a terrestrial FSO communication system. The effect of atmospheric turbulence on the symbol detection of an OOK based terrestrial FSO system is presented analytically and experimentally verified. It was found that atmospheric turbulence induced channel fading will require the OOK threshold detector to have the knowledge of the channel fading strength and noise levels if the detection error is to be reduced to its barest minimum. This poses a serious design difficulty that can be circumvented by employing phase shift keying (PSK) pre-modulated SIM. The results of the analysis and experiments showed that for a binary PSK-SIM based FSO system, the symbol detection threshold level does not require the knowledge of the channel fading strength or noise level. As such, the threshold level is fixed at the zero mark in the presence or absence of atmospheric turbulence. Also for the full and seamless integration of FSO into the access network, a study of SIM-FSO performance becomes compelling because existing networks already contain subcarrier-like signals such as radio over fibre and cable television signals. The use of multiple subcarrier signals as a means of increasing the throughput/capacity is also investigated and the effect of optical source nonlinearity is found to result in intermodulation distortion. The intermodulation distortion can impose a BER floor of up to 10-4 on the system error performance. In addition, spatial diversity and subcarrier delay diversity techniques are studied as means of ameliorating the effect of atmospheric turbulence on the error and outage performance of SIM-FSO systems. The three spatial diversity linear combining techniques analysed are maximum ratio combining, equal gain combining and selection combining. The system performance based on each of these combining techniques is presented and compared under different strengths of atmospheric turbulence. The results predicted that achieving a 4 km SIM-FSO link length with no diversity technique will require about 12 dB of power more than using a 4 × 4 transmitter/receiver array system with the same data rate in a weak turbulent atmospheric channel. On the other hand, retransmitting the delayed copy of the data once on a different subcarrier frequency was found to result in a gain of up to 4.5 dB in weak atmospheric turbulence channel.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 1 Dec 2009|