• Technical Conference:  30 March – 03 April 2025
  • Exhibition: 01 – 03 April 2025
  • Moscone Center, San Francisco, California, USA

SC384 - Background Concepts of Optical Communication Systems

Monday, 25 March
13:30 - 17:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Beginner


Alan Willner, University of Southern California, USA

Short Course Description:

Optical communication systems have provided ever-increasing data transmission capacities, and there is a set of core concepts that are fundamental to understanding many of the crucial technical areas.  The OFC/NFOEC conference has numerous courses teaching advanced topics that require some basic prior knowledge of these core concepts.  The intent of this short course is to provide key background information to enable attendees to subsequently take more advanced courses as well as to enhance the attendee’s understanding of technical sessions throughout the conference.

An attendee will obtain an overview of the field that concentrates on a number of specific topics, including:

1. Introduction to optical systems (point-to-point links, reconfigurable networks, line/client, switching techniques)
2. Communications concepts (SNR, ISI, BER, PRBS, eye diagrams, link budget, data standards)
3. Channel multiplexing techniques (time, wavelength, subcarrier, space, polarization)
4. Fiber-based data-degrading effects (loss, chromatic dispersion, polarization-mode dispersion, polarization-dependent loss)
5. Amplifiers (EDFA and Raman, gain flattening, gain transients)
6. Nonlinear effects, dispersion management and fiber types
7. Modulation formats, capacity and data constellations (OOK, PSK, DPSK, QAM, OFDM)
8. Direct and coherent detection schemes
9. Mitigating data impairments: optical (tunable compensators) and electronic (DSP, FEC)
10. Basics of lightwave system modeling

Short Course Benefits:

This course should enable you to:

  • Understand basic concepts of an optical communication system.

  • Identify different types of modulation and multiplexing formats.

  • Compute a simple optical power budget.

  • Explain key differences between direct and coherent detection systems.

  • Attend more advanced OFC short courses and understand better the conference technical sessions.

Short Course Audience:

This introductory course is intended for an audience with at least some technical background in engineering, physics or related disciplines, and is ideally suited for engineers who want to learn more about optical fiber communication systems.  The audience should gain valuable knowledge enabling them to take more advanced courses as well as understand better the conference technical sessions.

Instructor Biography:

Alan Willner (Ph.D., Columbia) worked at AT&T Bell Labs and Bellcore, and is the Sample Chaired Professor of Engineering at USC. He received the following: Member US National Academy of Eng., Int’l Fellow U.K. Royal Society of Eng., IEEE Eric Sumner Award, NSF Presidential Faculty Fellows Award from White House, IET JJ Thomson Medal, Packard Foundation Fellowship, OSA Forman Eng. Excellence Award, IEEE Photonics Society Eng. Achievement Award, SPIE President’s Award, Fellow National Academy of Inventors, Globecom Best Paper Award, and Eddy Best Technical Paper Award from Pennwell. He is a AAAS, IEEE, OSA, and SPIE Fellow. He was co-chair of National Academies' Committee on Optics and Photonics, president OSA, president IEEE Photonics Society, Optics Letters editor-in-chief, Journal of Lightwave Technology editor-in-chief, IEEE JSTQE editor-in-chief, CLEO general co-chair, and OFC steering/program committee member.