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Solutions

(a) Describe the operation of an Erbium Doped Fibre Amplifier (EDFA). Indicate the
advantages of fibre amplifier technology in comparison with Semiconductor Laser
Amplifiers (SLAs). List the main techniques for flattening of the amplifier gain curve
of an optical amplifier.
[7 marks]
(b) Briefly discuss non-linear properties of optical fibre. Explain concisely what is
meant by the terms four-wave mixing, stimulated Brillouin scattering and
stimulated Raman scattering. Describe the impact of the phenomena on DWDM
system operation and the techniques used to reduce the effects.
[6 marks]

An optical fibre system is used to distribute multiplexed digital video signals from a
single transmitter to N geographically dispersed receivers. An N-port optical splitter is
located just after the transmitter and the maximum distance from the splitter to any of
the N receivers is 39 km. The system specifications and design information are as
follows:

The bit rate is 622 Mbits/sec. The worst case transmitter output power is +1.5
dBm and the transmitter spectral width is less than 1.5 nm. The splitter has N
output ports, with an excess loss less than 0.3 dB per port.

Singlemode dispersion shifted fibre is used which meets ITU-T


recommendation G.653 with a dispersion coefficient of 3.5 ps/nm.km and a
worst case fibre attenuation at the operating wavelength of 0.25 dB/km.

Throughout the system cable spans with an average length of 740 m are fusion
spliced together with a maximum splice attenuation of 0.07 dB. There are four
connectors used between the transmitter and each receiver. The maximum
connector attenuation is 0.25 dB.

All of the receivers have an identical specification and have a worst case

Solutions
sensitivity of 27 dBm at 622 Mbits/sec. The power margin for repair, upgrade
etc. must not be less than 2.4 dB, between the transmitter and each receiver.
Based on the information above:
(i)

Sketch a block diagram for the system


[4 marks]

(ii)

What is the value of the worst-case dispersion penalty in the system?


[4 marks]

(iii)
What is the maximum value of the splitter ratio N with the system configured
as above?
[12 marks]
(iv)
Furthermore to increase the value of N the use of an EDFA, to be placed
between the transmitter and the N-port splitter, is being considered by the designers.
Explain why an amplifier is used. If the value of N is to be raised to 100 what
minimum amplifier gain in dB is needed? You may neglect noise and connections
losses for the EDFA.
[5 marks]

(i)
Discuss briefly the main issues to be considered while designing optical
communication systems in the WDM environment.
[6 marks]
(ii)
List and briefly discuss the most significant non-linear effects in fibre
transmission.
[7 marks]

Briefly discuss non-linear properties of optical fibre. Explain what is meant by the term
four-wave mixing, describe the impact of the phenomenon on DWDM system
operation and techniques for reducing the effect.

(a) Outline five common reasons why power margins are employed in the design of
optical transmission systems.
[6 marks]
(b) A 2.4 Gbit/s optical transmission system is to operate at a wavelength of 1550 nm
over a distance of 72 km. Two different transmitter types are available, type 1 and 2,

Solutions
with specifications shown in Table 1:
Transmitter
type
A
B

Minimum output
power
+2 dBm
+1.2 dBm

Worst case spectral


width
0.6 nm
0.5 nm

Table 1
A common receiver is used, which has a worst-case sensitivity of -24 dBm.
Singlemode fibre is to be used with a dispersion coefficient of 3.5 ps/km.nm and an
attenuation 0.23 dB/km. The average distance between fusion splices is 800 m. The
worst case connector loss is 0.36 dB, while the worst case fusion splice loss is 0.056
dB. Two connectors are used per system.
1.
Determine the dispersion penalty for each transmitter type
2.
Hence determine which transmitter type will offer the highest power margin for
the installed system.
[12 marks]
(c) For the purpose of an upgrade to operation at 5 Gbits/s a transmitter with a worst
case output power of +8 dBm is available, while the receiver sensitivity is reduced to
-23.2 dBm. Assuming a repair margin of 1.5 dB minimum is needed, what worst case
source spectral width could be tolerated for the upgrade transmitter?
[7 marks]

Solutions

1.

Using a block diagram describe a typical unidirectional dense wavelength division


multiplexed (DWDM) transmission system.
[5 marks]
Hence answer the following questions related to DWDM:
(i) What are the typical channel spacings used in a DWDM system and what wavelength
ranges are used?
[4 marks]
(ii) Explain why are Erbium Doped Fibre Amplifiers (EDFAs) a key component of
DWDM systems? Mention two disadvantages associated with the use of EDFAs in
DWDM systems.
[4 marks]
(iii) A long range DWDM system that spans several hundred km will require a chain of
optical amplifiers to operate successfully. Explain with the aid of suitable diagrams why
such systems are not limited in operating span by a lack of power budget but rather by the
cumulative deterioration of the optical signal-to-noise ratio. State your assumptions as
appropriate.
[7 marks]

1 (a)

Power
Amp
Transmitters

Receivers

Add/Drop
Mux/Demux

DWDM
Multiplexer

Line
Amp

Line
Amp

Receive
Preamp
DWDM
DeMultiplexer

200 km

Simple unidirectional DWDM system


The outputs of a number of transmitters, each tuned to a well defined and precise
wavelength are combined together using a DWDM multiplexer. A power amplifier
boosts the signal level, while further line amplifiers maintain the signal level to the
receiver. An Add/drop mux/demux is also shown to allow for the possibility of adding
or dropping individual wavelengths. At the receiver, after a EDFA used as a preamp,
the various wavelengths are correctly split apart and routed to receiver. Each
wavelength behaves as if it has sole access to the fibre, a so called virtual fibre.

(i) Channel separation is set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at:
50, 100 and 200 GHz, equivalent to approximate wavelength spacings of 0.4, 0.8
and 1.6 nm. Channels presently lie in the range 1530.3 nm to 1567.1 nm (so-called
C-Band). Operation in the so called L-band from 1570 to 1620 is currently
becoming available.

Solutions
[4 marks]
(ii) EDFAs are required to allow for longer fibre spans and to compensate for losses in
DWDM multiplexers and demultiplexers. However the use of EDFAs does
introduce some problems. EDFAs do not have a flat response across the C-band,
leading to gain tilt (level variations between channels) and requiring the use of
gain flattening filters. EDFAs also introduce excess noise into signals, which can
degrade signal quality and can be problematic for example were a restoration path
following a failure introduces a larger number of EDFAs into a system span.
[4 marks]
(iii) Optical amplifiers allow one to extend link distance for a DWDM system to
several hundred km. To do so optical amplifiers are used to compensate for attenuation
after a given span of fibre, typically 80 km. For example in Graph #1 below we have
assumed a sample system that uses 0.25 dB atten fibre, 80 km fibre sections and
amplifiers with a gain of 19 dB. (student is not expected to calculate values just give
indicative values). The loss in DWDM multplexers and demultiplexers is assumed to
be compensated for by power and preamp optical amps for simplicity.

Signal level (dBm )

10

-10
-20

-30
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

Location (km)

Graph #1
From the graph we can see that as each amplifier restores the signal level to a value
almost equivalent to the level at the start of a fibre section, that in principle system
reach is extended to 700 km +. Thus by setting the gain of the amplifiers appropriately
one could envisage that power budget limitations (eg . where the optical power level at
the destination DWDM receiver falls below the receiver sensitivity level) will not
apply.
However an amplifier cannot compensate for dispersion (and crosstalk in DWDM
systems).
Amplifiers also introduce noise, as each amplifier reduces the Optical SNR by a small
amount (noise figure). For the same system above if we assume amplifiers with a
reasonable noise figure of 5 dB the OSNR level versus distance plot becomes (Graph

Solutions
#2)
60

Optical SNR (dB)

50
40
30
20
10
0
0

100

200

300

400

500

600

700

800

Location (km)

Graph #2
In this system the starting SNR, the transmitter SNR is assumed to be 50 dB while the
amplifier noise figure is 5 dB. It is clear that the optical SNR drops with distance, so
that if we take 30 dB as a reasonable limit, the max distance between a DWDM T/X
and R/X is only 300 km., much smaller than the limit (in as much as it exists see
above) set by the power budget alone.
[7 marks]
[10 Marks]
2. A 2.488 Gb/s optical transmission system is to operate at a wavelength of 1550 nm over an
unrepeatered distance of 74 km. The transmitter available has a minimum coupled output power
of 0 dBm, while the receiver has a worst-case sensitivity of -26 dBm.

Solutions
The fibre dispersion is known to be less than or equal to 2 ps/km. The fibre and connector
attenuation values are shown in Table 1.
Table 1
Type
Fibre

Average
attenuation
0.19 dB

Standard
deviation
0.02 dB

Worst case
attenuation
0.25 dB

Connector

0.2 dB

0.04 dB

0.5 dB

Two connectors are to be used in the system and all remaining joints are fusion splices. The
typical intersplice distance is 1.5 km. The minimum power margin required is 2 dB. Hence:
(i)
Show that with a worst-case power budget it is not possible to achieve the power margin
required.
[8 marks]
(ii)
If the average splice attenuation is 0.02 dB what is the maximum permissible value of
the standard deviation for the splice attenuation, assuming a two standard deviation statistical
power budget?
[12 marks]
2 (a) (i) Before considering the power budget we need to determine the dispersion penalty
for the system. For a bit rate B of 2480 Mbits/sec and t of 2 ps/km RMS impulse
spread the power penalty is calculated using the standard rule-of-thumb:
Pd 10 Log

10

1 B
1

t 2

Using the formula:


System Span (km)
Minimum power margin (dB)

74.00
2.00

Dispersion penalty calculator


Bit rate:

Total penalties
2.4880E+09

RMS impulse spread


Total RMS impuse spread

2.0E-12
148.0E-12

Dispersion Penalty (dB):

4.805

Polarisation

0.00

Reflection

0.00

Dispersion

4.81

Total Penalties

4.81

The dispersion penalty at 2.48 Gbits/sec is 4.81 dB


(ii) For a worst case power budget calculation we do not know the worst case splice
attenuation, but even with the absence of this information it is possible to show that the
power margin is 1.69 dB. Splice loss can only make this power margin lower still, thus
we can assert that it is not possible to reach a margin of 2 dB.

Solutions
Worst Case
Basic Infomation
System Span in km

Derived Information
74.00

Transmitter Output Power (dBm)

0.00

Number of Connectors

2.00

Connector Loss (dB)

0.50

Total Connector Loss (dB)

1.00

Fibre Attenuation

0.25

Total fibre attenuation (dB)

18.50

Maximum fibre length available (km)

1.50

No. of fibre lengths needed

49.33

Worst case loss per splice (dB)

Unknown

Penalities
Receiver sensitivity (dBm)

Total splice loss (dB)

Unknown

4.81
-26.00

1.69

Available power margin excluding splice loss (dB)

(ii) We now use a statistical approach (eg. the losses for the fibre and the connectors
are replaced by a value equal to the average plus two standard deviations) to calculate
the total permissible splice attenuation, assuming the 2 dB power margin. Then since
we know the average splice loss we can find the maximum std dev, using the total
number of fibre lengths figure, calculated as part of the power budget.
Two Std Deviation Statistical Case
Basic Infomation
System Span in km

Derived Information
74.00

Transmitter Output Power (dBm)

0.00

Number of Connectors

2.00

Connector Loss (dB)

0.28

Total Connector Loss (dB)

0.56

Fibre Attenuation

0.23

Total fibre attenuation (dB)

17.02

Maximum fibre length available (km)

1.50

No. of fibre lengths needed

49.33

Average Loss per splice (dB)

0.02

Total average splice loss (dB)

0.97

Penalities

4.81

Available margin WITHOUT splices

3.61

Maximum splice loss

1.61

Receiver sensitivity (dBm)

-26.00

Maximum Std Dev for splice loss

0.0066

As calculated above the maximum standard deviation for the splice loss is 0.0066
dB
[10 Marks]
3. (a) Sketch the major elements of a fibre amplifier and describe the operation of the
device. Indicate the advantages of fibre amplifier technology in comparison with that
associated with SLAs.
[7 marks]

Solutions
(b) (i) Explain the term all-optical switch and indicate the main benefits of the alloptical switching technology.
(ii) List the main optical switching technologies available, discuss their strengths,
weaknesses and potential applications in fibre communication systems.
[7 marks]
(c) Explain what is meant by the term four-wave mixing; describe the impact of the
phenomenon on DWDM system operation and techniques for reducing the effect.
[6 marks]
3 (a) (a)
A fibre amplifier consists of a short (typically ten metres or so) section of fibre which has a small
controlled amount of the rare earth element (usually erbium) added to the glass in the form of an ion
(Er3+).
Operation is as follows:
1. A (relatively) high-powered beam of light is mixed with the input signal using a wavelength selective
coupler. The input signal and the excitation light must of course be at significantly different
wavelengths. This beam of light constantly keeps the erbium ions in an excited state. (The power level of
the pump is often controlled through a feedback loop.)
2. The mixed light is guided into a section of fibre with erbium ions included in the core.
3. This high-powered light beam excites the erbium ions to their higher-energy state.
4. When the photons belonging to the signal (at a different wavelength from the pump light) meet the
excited erbium atoms, the erbium atoms give up some of their energy to the signal and return to their
lower-energy state.
This doesn't happen for all wavelengths of signal light. There is a range of wavelengths approximately
24 nm wide that is amplified.
5. A significant point is that the erbium gives up its energy in the form of additional photons, which are
exactly in the same phase and direction as the signal being amplified. So the signal is amplified along its
direction of travel only. Thus all of the additional signal power is guided in the same fibre mode as the
incoming signal.
6. There is usually an isolator placed at the output to prevent reflections returning from the attached
fibre. Such reflections disrupt amplifier operation and in the extreme case can cause the amplifier to
become a laser.
The erbium doped fibre amplifier has the following advantages over semiconductor optical amplifier
technology:
The erbium doped fibre amplifier is a default traveling wave amplifier (no gain ripple)
No polarization dependence (SOAs are highly polarization sensitive)
Small coupling loss
Low noise figure (3-7 dB depending on pump wavelength)
High gain (up to 50 dB possible)
High output saturation power (>100 mW)
No chirp
Long excited state population lifetime ( 10 ms) no crosstalk problem.
[7 marks]
(b)
(i) An all-optical switch is a device that enables signals in optical fibres or integrated optical circuits
(IOCs) to be selectively switched from one circuit to another without conversion of the signal to
electrical form.
Up to now, the switching in optical networks has been laid almost entirely in electronics. In every
switching node, optical signals are converted to electrical form, buffered electronically, and subsequently
forwarded to their next hop after being converted to optical form again. However, as the network
capacity increases, electronic switching nodes are unable to keep up. Apart from that, electronic
equipment is strongly dependent on the data rate and protocol, and thus, any system upgrade results in
the addition and/or replacement of electronic switching equipment. All-optical switching promises to

Solutions
eliminate both these drawbacks.
(ii) Table below suggests appropriate network applications for various switching technologies.
Platform

Scheme

Strengths

Weaknesses

Optomechanical

Employ
electromechanic
al actuators to
redirect a light
beam

Optical
performance,
old
technology

Speed, bulky,
scalability

MEMS

Use tiny
reflective
surfaces
(subcategory of
optomechanical
switches)
Temperature
control to
change index of
refraction

Size, scalability

Packaging,
reliability

Integration,
wafer-level
manufacturabili
ty

Liquid Crystal

Processing of
polarisation
states of light

Reliability,
optical
performance

Optical
performance,
power
consumption,
speed,
scalability
Scalability,
temperature
dependency

Gel/oil based

A subset of
thermo-optical
technology

Modular
scalability

Unclear
reliability, high
insertion loss

Magneto-optics

Faraday

Speed

Optical
performance

Acousto-optic

Acousto-optic
effect,
RF
signal tuning

Size, speed

Optical
performance

Electro-optic

Dielectric

Speed

High insertion
loss,
polarisation,
scalability,
expensive

SOA-based

Speed,
loss
compensation

Noise,
scalability

Thermo-optical

Potential
applications
Protection
switching,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing,
Optical spectral
monitoring
Cross-Connect,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing,
Optical spectral
monitoring
Cross-Connect,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing
Protection
switching,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing,
Optical spectral
monitoring
Cross-Connect,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing
Protection,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing,
Optical spectral
monitoring,
packet
switching
Cross-Connect,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing
Cross-Connect,
Optical
Add/Drop
Multiplexing,
Optical spectral
monitoring
Cross-Connect

[7 marks]
(c) The four-wave mixing (FWM) is a non-linear effect, a result of interaction of light with the material
in optical fibre. The interaction of light with the material in optical fibre is typically very small and thus
interactions between different signals on the same fibre are also very small. However, since the signal

Solutions
travels long distances on fibre, very small effects have the opportunity to build up into large at power
levels of few mW.
The four-wave mixing is elastic effect where although the optical wave interacts with and affected by
the presence of matter there is no energy exchange between the two.

FWM occurs when two or more waves propagate in the same direction in the same
(single-mode) fibre. The signals mix to produce new signals at wavelengths, which are
spaced at the same intervals as the mixing signals.

A signal at frequency 1 mixes with a signal at frequency 2 to produce two new


signals one at frequency 21-2 and the other at 22-1. The effect can also happen
between three or more signals.
There are a number of significant points.
The effect becomes greater as the channel spacing is reduced. The closer the
channels are together the greater the FWM effect.
FWM is non-linear with signal power. As signal power increases the effect
increases exponentially.
The effect is strongly influenced by chromatic dispersion. FWM is caused when
signals stay in phase with one another over a significant distance. The greater
the dispersion, the smaller the effect of FWM - because chromatic dispersion
ensures that different signals do not stay in phase with one another for very
long. Thus to reduce the FWM effect the system architects sometimes employ a
balanced structure where sections of dispersive fibre with different dispersion
characteristics are joined to form the span. The idea here is that no section of
fibre has zero dispersion but that different sections have dispersion of opposite
sign so that the total at the end of the link (span) is zero (dispersion
compensation).
If the WDM channels are evenly spaced then the new spurious signals will
appear in signal channels and cause noise. Another method of reducing the
effect of FWM is to space the channels unevenly.
[6marks]
[10 Marks]
4. (a) Describe the operation of an Erbium Doped Fibre Amplifier (EDFA). Indicate the
advantages of fibre amplifier technology in comparison with Semiconductor Laser Amplifiers
(SLAs). List the main techniques for flattening of the amplifier gain curve of an optical
amplifier.
[7 marks]
(b) Briefly discuss non-linear properties of optical fibre. Explain concisely what is meant by the
terms four-wave mixing, stimulated Brillouin scattering and stimulated Raman scattering.
Describe the impact of the phenomena on DWDM system operation and the techniques used to
reduce the effects.

Solutions
[6 marks]
4 (a) A an Erbium Doped Fibre Amplifier fibre amplifier consists of a short (typically ten
metres or so) section of fibre which has a small controlled amount of the rare earth

element (erbium) added to the glass in the form of an ion (Er3+).


Operation is as follows:
1. A (relatively) high-powered beam of light is mixed with the input signal using a
wavelength selective coupler. The input signal and the excitation light must of course
be at significantly different wavelengths. This beam of light constantly keeps the
erbium ions in an excited state. (The power level of the pump is often controlled
through a feedback loop.)
2. The mixed light is guided into a section of fibre with erbium ions included in the
core.
3. This high-powered light beam excites the erbium ions to their higher-energy state.
4. When the photons belonging to the signal (at a different wavelength from the pump
light) meet the excited erbium atoms, the erbium atoms give up some of their energy to
the signal and return to their lower-energy state.
This doesnt happen for all wavelengths of signal light. There is a range of wavelengths
approximately 24 nm wide that is amplified.
5. A significant point is that the erbium gives up its energy in the form of additional
photons, which are exactly in the same phase and direction as the signal being
amplified. So the signal is amplified along its direction of travel only. Thus all of the
additional signal power is guided in the same fibre mode as the incoming signal.
6. There is usually an isolator placed at the output to prevent reflections returning from
the attached fibre. Such reflections disrupt amplifier operation and in the extreme case
can cause the amplifier to become a laser.
The erbium doped fibre amplifier has the following advantages over semiconductor
optical amplifier technology:
The erbium doped fibre amplifier is a default 12ravelling wave amplifier (no
gain ripple)
No polarization dependence (SOAs are highly polarization sensitive)
Small coupling loss
Low noise figure (3-7 dB depending on pump wavelength)
High gain (up to 50 dB possible)
High output saturation power (>100 mW)
No chirp
Long excited state population lifetime ( 10 ms) no crosstalk problem.
Flattening of the Gain Curve Techniques:
1. Operating the device at 77 K. This produces a much better (flatter) gain curve
but its not practical.
2. Introducing other dopant materials (such as aluminium or ytterbium) along with
the erbium into the fibre core.
3. Amplifier length is another factor influencing the flatness of the gain curve.
4. Controlling the pump power (through a feedback loop) is routine to reduce

Solutions
amplified spontaneous emission.
5. Adding an extra WDM channel locally at the amplifier (gain clamping).
6. Manipulating the shape of the fibre waveguide within the amplifier.
At the systems level there are other things that can be done to compensate:
1. Using blazed fibre Bragg gratings as filters to reduce the peaks in the
response curve.
2. To transmit different WDM channels at different power levels to compensate
for later amplifier gain characteristics.
[10 Marks]
4 (b)

Nonlinear effects are the result of interaction between light and matter and they
increase exponentially as the level of optical power in the fibre is increased (above
3 mW). Typically they are very small, but since the signal travels long distances on
fibre, very small effects have the opportunity to build up into large ones.
Nonlinear effects can be grouped into two classes. Elastic effects where although
the optical wave interacts with and is affected by the presence of matter there is no
energy exchange between the two (four-wave mixing). Inelastic Scattering is
where there is an energy transfer between the matter involved and the optical wave
(Stimulated Brillouin Scattering and Stimulated Raman Scattering).
Nonlinear effects are nearly always undesirable. After attenuation and dispersion
they provide the next major limitation on optical transmission.
The four-wave mixing (FWM) is an elastic effect where although the optical
wave interacts with and affected by the presence of matter there is no energy
exchange between the two. FWM occurs when two or more waves propagate in the
same direction in the same (single-mode) fibre. The signals mix to produce new
signals at wavelengths, which are spaced at the same intervals as the mixing
signals.
A signal at frequency w1 mixes with a signal at frequency 2 to produce two new
signals one at frequency 21-2 and the other at 22-1. The effect can also happen
between three or more signals.
The effect becomes greater as the channel spacing is reduced. The closer the
channels are together the greater the FWM effect.
FWM is non-linear with signal power. As signal power increases the effect
increases exponentially.
The effect is strongly influenced by chromatic dispersion. FWM is caused when
signals stay in phase with one another over a significant distance. The greater the
dispersion, the smaller the effect of FWM because chromatic dispersion ensures
that different signals do not stay in phase with one another for very long. Thus to
reduce the FWM effect the system architects sometimes employ a balanced
structure where sections of dispersive fibre with different dispersion characteristics
are joined to form the span. The idea here is that no section of fibre has zero
dispersion but that different sections have dispersion of opposite sign so that the
total at the end of the link (span) is zero (dispersion compensation).
If the WDM channels are evenly spaced then the new spurious signals will appear
in signal channels and cause noise. Another method of reducing the effect of FWM
is to space the channels unevenly.
Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS) is a scattering of light backwards towards the
transmitter caused by mechanical (acoustic) vibrations in the transmission medium.
SBS can be a major problem in three situations: 1) in long distance systems where

Solutions
the span between amplifiers is great and the bit rate low (below about 2.5 Gbps); 2)
in WDM systems (up to about 10 Gbps) where the spectral width of the signal is
very narrow; 3) in remote pumping of an erbium doped fibre amplifier (EDFA)
through a separate fibre. EDFA pumps typically put out about four lines of around
only 80 MHz wide.
Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) is caused by a similar mechanism to the one,
which produces SBS. However, the interactions involved are due to molecular
vibrations rather than acoustic ones. Scattered light can appear in both the forward
and backward directions. SRS is a not an issue in single-channel systems but can be
a significant problem in WDM systems. When multiple channels are present, power
is transferred from shorter wavelengths to longer ones.
The effect of SRS becomes greater as the signals are moved further and further
apart (within some limits). This is a problem as we would like to separate the
signals as much as we can to avoid four-wave mixing effects and when we do we
get SRS.
SRS increases exponentially with increased power. At very high power it is
possible for all of the signal power to be transferred to the Stokes Wave.
[10 Marks]

5.
5

An optical fibre system is used to distribute multiplexed digital video signals from a
single transmitter to N geographically dispersed receivers. An N-port optical splitter is
located just after the transmitter and the maximum distance from the splitter to any of
the N receivers is 39 km. The system specifications and design information are as
follows:

The bit rate is 622 Mbits/sec. The worst case transmitter output power is +1.5
dBm and the transmitter spectral width is less than 1.5 nm. The splitter has N
output ports, with an excess loss less than 0.3 dB per port.

Singlemode dispersion shifted fibre is used which meets ITU-T


recommendation G.653 with a dispersion coefficient of 3.5 ps/nm.km and a
worst case fibre attenuation at the operating wavelength of 0.25 dB/km.

Throughout the system cable spans with an average length of 740 m are fusion
spliced together with a maximum splice attenuation of 0.07 dB. There are four
connectors used between the transmitter and each receiver. The maximum
connector attenuation is 0.25 dB.

All of the receivers have an identical specification and have a worst case
sensitivity of 27 dBm at 622 Mbits/sec. The power margin for repair, upgrade
etc. must not be less than 2.4 dB, between the transmitter and each receiver.

Based on the information above:


(i)

Sketch a block diagram for the system

Solutions
[4 marks]
(ii)

What is the value of the worst-case dispersion penalty in the system?


[4 marks]

(iii)
What is the maximum value of the splitter ratio N with the system configured
as above?
[12 marks]
(iv)
Furthermore to increase the value of N the use of an EDFA, to be placed
between the transmitter and the N-port splitter, is being considered by the designers.
Explain why an amplifier is used. If the value of N is to be raised to 100 what
minimum amplifier gain in dB is needed? You may neglect noise and connections
losses for the EDFA.
[5 marks]

Solutions
(a) (i)

(ii)

Transmitter

Block diagram

<45 km

[4 marks]

Receiver #2

The dispersion
penalty is found from the standard worst case formula
Optical
Splitter

Pd 10 Log

10

Receiver #1

1
1

B t 2

Receiver #3

This expresses the power penalty Pd in terms of the bit rate


B and
Receiver
#N the mean square
impulse spread t2. The worst case dispersion penalty arises for the longest system span
which is 39 km, thus:
Dispersion penalty calculation

Bit rate:

622.0E+6

Fibre dispersion in ps/nm.km


Transmitter spectral width (nm)
System Span (km)
Calculated total dispersion (ps)

3.50
1.5
39.00
204.8 ps

Worst case Dispersion Penalty (dB):

0.362
[4 marks]

(iii) Solution is via a power budget for a 39 km link, using the dispersion penalty and
then determining the maximum split loss from input to output port (excluding excess
loss) which allows us to estimate the maximum value of N. The calculations are:

Power Budget Calculation

Basic Infomation
System Span in km

Derived Information
39.000

Transmitter Output Power (dBm) worst case 1.500

Number of Connectors

4.000

Connector Loss (dB)

0.250

Total Connector Loss (dB)

1.00

Fibre Attenuation worst case

0.250

Total fibre attenuation (dB)

9.75

Average inter-splice distance (km)

0.740

No. of fibre lengths needed


assuming avg intersplice distance

52.70

Loss per splice (dB)

0.070

Total splice loss (dB)

3.62

Solutions

Dispersion Penalities

0.362

Receiver sensitivity (dBm) worst case

-27.000 Available power budget (dB)

Minimum power margin (dB)

2.40

Maximum splitter insertion loss (dB)

11.3684 Calculated as balance of power


budget

28.50

The budget available is 28.5 dB. Once power penalties, losses, etc (including the power
margin) are accounted for, from the above the balance available is 11.36 dB
Ths is the maximum loss per port that can be tolerated and is dependent on the split
ratio and the excess loss.
Based on the figure above, the maximum split ratio only loss per port is 11.07 dB.
For various split ratios the loss is:
For a split ratio of 13:1 (ie 13 fibres out) the split ratio loss is 11.14 dB, which is too
high. For a split ratio of 12:1 (ie 12 fibres out) the split ratio loss is 10.79 dB, which is
just right
Thus for the present conditions the maximum value of N is 12
(iv) Here an EDFA is used as a power amplifier prior to the splitter to allow for a larger
split ratio (eg. more receivers) by overcoming splitter insertion loss by using a higher
input power level to the splitter.
For the value of N to rise to 100 then the splitter loss in dB excluding insertion loss
will be per port 20 dB. This greatly exceeds the unamplified allowance of 11.36 dB
allowed by the power budget. The amplifier must make up the shortfall between 20 dB
and 11.36 dB, which means a that an amplifier with a minimum gain of at least 8.64
dB is needed.
[10 Marks]
6 (a) (i) Engineering of a communication system in the WDM environment requires taking
many devices and integrating them into a system. This is a non-trivial exercise as
interactions between different types of equipment and their operation in a field
environment must be well understood.
There are many issues to be considered:
1) Determining the width and spacing of wavebands.
2) Stabilising the wavelength of wavelength-sensitive components.
3) Filter alignment in cascades of filters.
4) Control of non-linear effects.

Solutions
5) Control of dispersion.
6) Control of cross-talk.
7) Dynamics of optical amplifiers.
8) Control of system noise (especially for amplified spontaneous emission sources).
[6 marks]
(ii) Various non-linear effects prevalent in fibre transmission need consideration and
control for the system to operate successfully.
Four-Wave Mixing (FWM)
FWM occurs when two or more waves propagate in the same direction in the same
(single-mode) fibre. The signals mix to produce new signals at wavelengths, which are
spaced at the same intervals as the mixing signals.
This is a most serious issue for WDM systems. It is influenced very strongly by two
factors:
1) Channel spacing;
2) Fibre dispersion.
Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS)
SBS is really a single channel phenomenon but nevertheless it must be taken into
account in WDM situations. SBS depends on a number of things:
1) Signal linewidth. The narrower the linewidth the more of a problem SBS
becomes. SBS is generally not a problem with channel bandwidth greater than 100
MHz;
2) Signal power. There is a threshold value below which SBS will not cause a
problem;
3) Fibre core size. The narrower the core, the higher the power concentration
and thus the greater effect from SBS;
4) Wavelength. SBS has a bigger effect in the 1550 nm band than in the 1310
nm band.
Stimulated Raman Scattering
SRS occurs between signal channels and between groups of channels.
To keep degradation due to SRS down to acceptable levels the product of total power
and total optical bandwidth must be less than 500 GHz/W. The bandwidth quoted is the
spread of the WDM channels.
[7 marks]
[10 Marks]

7 (a) The four-wave mixing (FWM) is a nonlinear effect, a result of interaction of light with
the material in optical fibre. The interaction of light with the material in optical fibre is
typically very small and thus interactions between different signals on the same fibre
are also very small. However, since the signal travels long distances on fibre, very
small effects have the opportunity to build up into large at power levels of few mW.
FWM occurs when two or more waves propagate in the same direction in the same
(single-mode) fibre. The signals mix to produce new signals at wavelengths, which are
spaced at the same intervals as the mixing signals.

Solutions

A signal at frequency 1 mixes with a signal at frequency 2 to produce two new


signals one at frequency 21-2 and the other at 22-1. The effect can also happen
between three or more signals.
There are a number of significant points.
The effect becomes greater as the channel spacing is reduced. The closer the
channels are together the greater the FWM effect.
FWM is non-linear with signal power. As signal power increases the effect
increases exponentially.
The effect is strongly influenced by chromatic dispersion. FWM is caused when
signals stay in phase with one another over a significant distance. The greater the
dispersion, the smaller the effect of FWM - because chromatic dispersion ensures
that different signals do not stay in phase with one another for very long. Thus to
reduce the FWM effect the system architects sometimes employ a balanced
structure where sections of dispersive fibre with different dispersion characteristics
are joined to form the span. The idea here is that no section of fibre has zero
dispersion but that different sections have dispersion of opposite sign so that the
total at the end of the link (span) is zero (dispersion compensation).
If the WDM channels are evenly spaced then the new spurious signals will appear
in signal channels and cause noise. Another method of reducing the effect of FWM
is to space the channels unevenly.
[10 Marks]
8 (a) Outline five common reasons why power margins are employed in the design of
optical transmission systems:
To allow for ageing of sources and other components.
To allow for variations in the system performance induced by temperature
To cater for extra splices, when cable repair is carried out.
To allow for extra fibre, if rerouting is needed in the future.
To allow for upgrades in the bit rate or advances in multiplexing.
Any 4 out or 5 will do, [1.5 marks each]
[10 Marks]
8 (b) The dispersion penalty for each fiber type is found from the standard worst case
formula
Pd 10 Log

10

1
1

B t 2
2

This expresses the power penalty Pd in terms of the bit rate B and the mean square

Solutions
impulse spread t2. The basic system info is
System Span in km: 72.00
Bit rate (bits/s): 2.40E+09
Receiver sensitivity (dBm) worst case: -24.00
The power budget info for connectors, fiber and splices is:

The dispersion penalty and the repair margin for transmitter type 1 and 2 is shown below:

Based on the above it is clear that even though the output power of Transmitter type 2
is lower, the lower spectral width results in a lower dispersion penalty and thus the
repair margin at 2.47 dB is better and thus transmitter type 2 is selected.
[10 Marks]
8 (c) For the purpose of the upgrade to operation at 5 Gbits/s a transmitter with a worst case
output power of +8 dBm is available, while the receiver sensitivity is reduced to -23.2
dBm. The problem is that even though the power budget has increased (from say 26 dB
for the type 1 transmitter above) to 31.2 dB, the increased bit rate will absorb this
increase as a higher dispersion penalty unless the source spectral width is improved
significantly from the 2.4 Gb/s transmitter case. We know the repair margin is to be 1.5
dB minimum is needed. The next steps are:
1. From the power budget and the repair nargin determine (see power budget

Solutions
below) that we could tolerate a maximum dispersion penalty of 9.72 dB and
still just achieve a repair margin of 1.5 dB.
2. Using the maximum tolerable dispersion formula, adapt the formula for the
dispersion penalty above to yield from the dispersion the maximum pulse
dispersion which is 85.1 ps (see below) over 72 km of fiber. The maxium
dispersion per km is thus 1.18 ps. Using the fiber dispersion coefficient of 3.5
ps per km.nm, the resultant maximum spectral width is 0.34 nm.

In conclusion then, based on a maximum dispersion penalty of 9,72 dB, at 5 Gbits/s,


the maximum tolerable transmitter output spectral width is 0.34 nm.
[10 Marks]