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Proceedings Paper

Student laboratory experiments exploring optical fibre communication systems, eye diagrams, and bit error rates
Author(s): Douglas Walsh; David Moodie; Iain Mauchline; Steve Conner; Walter Johnstone; Brian Culshaw
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Paper Abstract

Optical fibre communications has proved to be one of the key application areas, which created, and ultimately propelled the global growth of the photonics industry over the last twenty years. Consequently the teaching of the principles of optical fibre communications has become integral to many university courses covering photonics technology. However to reinforce the fundamental principles and key technical issues students examine in their lecture courses and to develop their experimental skills, it is critical that the students also obtain hands-on practical experience of photonics components, instruments and systems in an associated teaching laboratory. In recognition of this need OptoSci, in collaboration with university academics, commercially developed a fibre optic communications based educational package (ED-COM). This educator kit enables students to; investigate the characteristics of the individual communications system components (sources, transmitters, fibre, receiver), examine and interpret the overall system performance limitations imposed by attenuation and dispersion, conduct system design and performance analysis. To further enhance the experimental programme examined in the fibre optic communications kit, an extension module to ED-COM has recently been introduced examining one of the most significant performance parameters of digital communications systems, the bit error rate (BER). This add-on module, BER(COM), enables students to generate, evaluate and investigate signal quality trends by examining eye patterns, and explore the bit-rate limitations imposed on communication systems by noise, attenuation and dispersion. This paper will examine the educational objectives, background theory, and typical results for these educator kits, with particular emphasis on BER(COM).

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 June 2005
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 5827, Opto-Ireland 2005: Photonic Engineering, (8 June 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.604505
Show Author Affiliations
Douglas Walsh, OptoSci Ltd. (United Kingdom)
David Moodie, OptoSci Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Iain Mauchline, OptoSci Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Steve Conner, OptoSci Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Walter Johnstone, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Brian Culshaw, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5827:
Opto-Ireland 2005: Photonic Engineering
Thomas J. Glynn; John T. Sheridan; Brian W. Bowe; Ronan F. O'Dowd; Gerard M. O'Connor; Aidan J.H. Flanagan; Gerard D. O'Sullivan; Gerald Byrne; Jonathan Magee, Editor(s)

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