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Modeling and Performance Study of InterSatellite Optical Wireless Communication System

Abhishek Bohra (09BEC070), Prashant Kishore ( 09BEC110), Mohit Nandwani(09BEC162) Student of Vit University

ABSTRACT Optical communications systems have evolved from lengthy fibers to powerful wireless system. As the number of satellites orbiting Earth increase year by year, a network between the satellites provides a method for them to communicate with each other. In this research, the intersatellite communication link is studied and optical wireless communication was proposed for the link. The intersatellite optical wireless communication (IsOWC) system was designed and simulated for performance characterization. The intersatellite link was modeled and simulated using a commercial optical system simulator named OptiSystem by Optiwave. The findings of this project shows that by using laser satellite communication system, the satellites can be connected with data rates up to 10Gbps. The system performance including bit rates, receiver sensitivity and distance of LEO and GEO intersatellite links were analyzed. Index Terms: inter-satellite optical wireless communication (IsOWC), inter-satellite links, Qfactor, bit error rate (BER).

With light travelling at 3 x 108 m/s, data can be sent without much delay and with minimum attenuation since the space is considered to be vacuum. The advantages of using optical link over radio frequency (RF) links is the ability to send high speed data to a distance of thousands of kilometers using small size payload. By reducing the size of the payload, the mass and the cost of the satellite will also be decreased. Another reason of using OWC is due to wavelength. RF wavelength is much longer compared to lasers hence the beam width that can be achieved using lasers is narrower than that of the RF system.

Figure 1 Overview of IsOWC

As of April 2009, there are 6124 satellites orbiting Earth and this number increases year by year. At the same time, the optical wireless communication (OWC) technology has grown and advanced throughout the year. Laser communication is now able to send information at data rates up to several Gbps and at distance of thousands of kilometers apart. This has open up the idea to adapt optical wireless communication technology into space technology; hence intersatellite optical wireless communication (IsOWC) is developed. IsOWC can be used to connect one satellite to another, whether the satellite is in the same orbit or in different orbits.

This project is done to study the intersatellite communication employing optical communication link. The effects of distance between satellites, bit rates, input power, and receiver sensitivity is studied and discussed in this project while assuming that the satellites have line of sight.

Intersatellite Link Intersatellite links have been employed on several satellite systems such as Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) where RF is used to link the satellites. However, optical links has been proven to provide higher bit rates and better efficiency than RF link. Hence, several satellites have been implanted with OWC intersatellite links.

Light source is the most important component in optical signal since communication is done by transmitting light. Light-emitting diode (LED) and injected laser diode (ILD) are two types of optical light source commonly used in optical communication. The output light emitted by the ILD is monochromatic, coherent and has high radiance which makes it suitable for long distance free space transmission. The electrical signal from TT&C system and optical signal from the laser will be modulated by an optical modulator before it is transmitted out to space. An optical modulator varies the intensity or amplitude of the input light signal from ILD according to the electrical signal. This is done by changing optical parameters such as refractive index, reflection factor and transmission factor of the optical modulator that is made from fiber waveguides. System Performance The system performance can be evaluated by analyzing the BER and Q-factor. BER can be said to be the ratio of the number of bit errors detected in the receiver and the number of bits transmitted. Bit errors happen as the result of incorrect decisions being made in a receiver due to the presence of noise on a digital signal. Meanwhile, Q-factor is a measurement of the signal quality. It is proportional to the systems signal to noise ratio. In optical system, the BER is typically too small to measure hence Q-factor is more suitable to be used. The relationship between BER and Q-factor can be given as

Figure 2

Optical intersatellite link between Artemis

and SPOT-4 first achieved in March 2003 Optical Wireless Communication Concepts Different from RF links, OWC uses light at near-infrared frequency to communicate. OWC system still consists of three main communication parts which are transmitter, propagation channel and receiver. The OWC system is not much different from free space optics and fiber optic communication where the difference relies in the propagation medium. OWC channel is considered to be outer space where it is assumed to be vacuum and free from atmospheric attenuation factors. Figure 3. shows the basic block diagram of an IsOWC system where the transmitter is in the first satellite and the receiver is in the second satellite. The free space between the satellites is the propagation medium is the OWC channel that is use to transmit the light signal.

From the above equation it can be seen that the BER is inversely proportional to Q-factor. Therefore, if the systems error increases, the Q factor will thus decrease.

System Components Figure 5 : Shows steps of project System Model in OptiSystem Based on the basic IsOWC block diagram presented in figure 3, the system is modeled with basic communication subsystems as stated in the projects scope of work. The first design consists of basic OWC communication system and is shown in Figure 6. The design was then improved by expanding the optical transmitter and receiver with specific subsystems. This is shown in Figure 7. In the design model shown, the model is for simplex system. Which means the model is for one way data transmission from one satellite to another. The fullduplex system model consists of two simplex systems. Hence it can be used for two way data transmission from one satellite to another and back. Figure 8 shows the final system model for full-duplex communication between two satellites. Subsystems used in modeling the IsOWC system will be divided into three, the transmitter, OWC channel and the receiver part. IsOWC Transmitter Design: The transmitter consists of four subsystems. The first subsystem is the pseudo-random bit sequence generator. This subsystem is to represent the information or data that wants to be transmitted. The data usually come from the satellites TT&C system. In this project the bit rate is varied to observe the system performance and the relationship between bit rate and distance. The second subsystem is the NRZ pulse generator. This subsystem encodes the data from the pseudorandom bit sequence generator using the non-return zero encoding technique. Figure 9 shows the NRZ encoding technique.

Figure 9: the NRZ encoding technique.

The third subsystem in the satellite IsOWC transmitter is the CW laser. CW stands for continuous wave where the output signal of the laser is nonstop and un-modulated. Lasers are used instead of LED for this system because of its ability to transmit at further distance. The frequency of the light is chosen to be 1550nm or 193.1THz with input power of 10dBm. These parameters can be changed.

IsOWC Receiver Design The receiver of the data consists of an APD photodiode, low pass filter and 3R regenerator. The photodiode acts as a front-end receiver that receives the optical signal and converts it into electrical signal. The APD photodiode has an internal gain which allows for the reduction of noisy external amplifiers in optical detection systems. Therefore, in this system model, no optical amplifier is needed. Apart from that, the APD photodiode is useful in low, weak or reduced light applications because of the avalanche phenomenon utilized by the device provides high amplification. APD photodiode used in the OptiSystem model has a multiplication factor of 3 and default dark current used is 10nA. The frequency of the photodiode is set to 193.1THz.

The last subsystem in the transmitter is the MachZehnder Modulator. It is an optical modulator that functions is to vary intensity of the light source from the laser according to the output of the NRZ pulse generator. The Mach-Zehnder modulator consists of two couplers and two waveguides of equal-length as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10: The Mach-Zehnder modulator The input optical signal from the laser will split in to two and go through phase shifting process in the waveguides. Phase-shifting happens due to the electro-optic effect where the output electrical pulse from the NRZ pulse generator will vary the voltage hence varying the refractive indices of the waveguides. The output of the Mach-Zehnder modulator will be transmitted to the other satellite through the space of OWC channel. OWC Channel The free space between two connecting satellites is considered as OWC channel which is the propagating medium for the transmitted light. In the OptiSystem software, the OWC channel is between an optical transmitter and optical receiver with 15cm optical antenna at each end. The transmitter and receiver gains are 0dB. The transmitter and receiver antennae are also assumed to be ideal where the optical efficiency is equal to 1 and there are no pointing errors. Additional losses from scintillation and mispointing are also assumed to be zero. Due to the altitude of the satellites that is above the Earths atmospheric layers, there is no attenuation due to atmospheric effects.

The low pass filter (LPF) after the photodiode is used to filter out the unwanted higher frequency signals. Bessel LPF is used with cut-off frequency of 0.75 x bit rate of the signal. The 3R regenerator is the subsystem use to regenerate electrical signal of the original bit sequence, and the modulated electrical signal as in the transmitter to be used for BER analysis. It is as if the BER analyzer is connected to the output of the pseudo-random bit sequence generator and NRZ pulse generator in the transmitter to be compared with the received signal at the LPF output. Figure 11.shows an example of connection of the BER analyzer without 3R regenerator and Figure 12 shows the connection with 3R regenerator.

Figure 11: BER analyzer without 3R regenerator

Figure 12: shows the connection with 3R regenerator

Relationship between Q-factor and Bit rates with Distance of Intersatellite Link By varying the bit rate and the distance between the satellites in the IsOWC system, the system performance in terms of Q-factor was obtained and plotted in Figure 12. The distance was set from 0km up to 5000km and the input power is set at a constant value of 10dBm and signal wavelength of 1550nm is used. The bit rate was set at 3 levels which are 1Gbps ,10Gbps, 100Gbps.

Figure 13: Maximum achievable Q-factor for distance 100 km at 1550nm, 1Gbps

Figure 12: Maximum achievable Q-factor for variable distance at 1550nm IsOWC link for bitrate up to 10Gbps From the graph of Figure 12, it can be observed that at longer distance the maximum Q-factor of the system decrease. This shows that the error in the received signal increases as the distance increase. The graph also shows that with higher bit rate, maximum Q-factor is reduced. It was also observed that data transmission at high bit rate of 10Gbps can only be used for shorter distance of less than 500km. This however, can be increased by using higher optical input power or by improving the modulation technique. Figure 14: Maximum achievable Q-factor for Figure 13 shows the eye diagram of an ideal transmission where the distance is 100km and the bit rate is 1Gbps. The Q-factor recorded is 64. When the distance is increased from 100km to 500km with the same bit rate, the eye diagram consists of more jitter and the opening of the eye decreases. The same happens when the data rate is increased to 10Gbps and the distance is constant at 100km. Figure 14 and 15 shows the eye diagrams for these situations. distance 100 km at 1550nm, 10 Gbps

From these figures it can be observed that at higher wavelength, more error is produced due to lower value of Q-factor. However, by using longer wavelength, the effect of scattering can be reduced. Attenuation due to Rayleigh and Mie scattering is inversely proportional to the wavelength. Though in this project it is assume that the are no particles obstructing the light signal, but small and large particles by the means of space dusts and meteorites can happen to be within the light signals way. Therefore, the longest possible wavelength is to be used which is 1550nm. Another reason of using 1550nm is because the compatibility with current technology and devices.

Figure 15 Figure 14: Maximum achievable Q-factor for distance 150 km at 1550nm, 10 Gbps

Figure 16: System eye diagram obtained at wavelength 950nm

Figure 14: Maximum achievable Q-factor for distance 200 km at 1550nm ,10 Gbps

Relationship between Q-factor and Signal Wavelength At long-haul transmission, the common wavelength used is 1550nm but shorter wavelengths can also be used. The following figures 16,17 shows the effect on the system performance when the variable wavelengths are used. For this simulation, the distance between the satellites is set constant at 200km and bit rate 1Gbps are used.

Figure 17 Eye diagram for 1550nm signal

Project Conclusions Satellites are deployed to space to perform many applications for the benefit of mankind. The future of space technology aims for satellites that can send its research data and images from any parts of the world, and also satellites that can give high speed internet connection and provide mobile cellular services to people at any places and anytime. This project is done to analyze a method to connect and network these satellites by using optical link. It has been discussed that IsOWC can provide intersatellite communication at higher speed and much further distance compared to RF links. The project first objective which is to study OWC system for intersatellite links is accomplished successfully . The project also aimed to simulate the system model for performance characterization and this has been conferred . The conclusions are as the followings: i. The received error increases as the distance between satellites increase. ii. Optical signal with lower bit rate can be used for further distance between satellites since the system performance is better at lower bit rates. iii. Longer signal wavelength produces more errors but transmission at 1550nm is used to reduce the effect of scattering and for its compatibility with existing devices. References : Modeling and Performance Study of InterSatellite Optical Wireless Communication System 5604379 satellite communication bt T Pratt satellite communication bt Dennis roddy optical fiber communication by Gerd keiser OptiSystem_User_Reference