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Proceedings Paper

Free space optical communications: coming of age
Author(s): Larry B. Stotts; Brian Stadler; Gary Lee
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Paper Abstract

Information superiority, where for the military or business, is the decisive advantage of the 21st Century. While business enjoys the information advantage of robust, high-bandwidth fiber optic connectivity that heavily leverages installed commercial infrastructure and service providers, mobile military forces need the wireless equivalent to leverage that advantage. In other words, an ability to deploy anywhere on the globe and maintain a robust, reliable communications and connectivity infrastructure, equivalent to that enjoyed by a CONUS commercial user, will provide US forces with information superiority. Assured high-data-rate connectivity to the tactical user is the biggest gap in developing and truly exploiting the potential of the information superiority weapon. Though information superiority is much discussed and its potential is well understood, a robust communications network available to the lowest military echelons is not yet an integral part of the force structure, although high data rate RF communications relays, e.g., Tactical Common Data Link, and low data SATCOM, e.g, Ku Spread Spectrum, are deployed and used by the military. This may change with recent advances in laser communications technologies created by the fiber optic communications revolution. This paper will provide a high level overview of the various laser communications programs conducted over the last 30 plus years, and proposed efforts to get these systems finally deployed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 April 2008
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 6951, Atmospheric Propagation V, 69510W (18 April 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.783798
Show Author Affiliations
Larry B. Stotts, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (United States)
Brian Stadler, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Gary Lee, Lutronix (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6951:
Atmospheric Propagation V
G. Charmaine Gilbreath; Linda M. Wasiczko, Editor(s)

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