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Experimental verification of optical backhaul links for high-altitude platform networks: Atmospheric turbulence and downlink availability

Horwath, Joachim and Perlot, Nicolas and Knapek, Markus and Moll, Florian (2007) Experimental verification of optical backhaul links for high-altitude platform networks: Atmospheric turbulence and downlink availability. International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking, 25 (5), pp. 501-528. Wiley.

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Official URL: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/search/allsearch?mode=quicksearch&products=journal&WISsearch1=1542-0981&WISindexid1=issn&contentTitle=International+Journal+of+Satellite+Communications+and+Networking&contextLink=blah&contentOID=102525899&WISsearch2=horw

Abstract

Optical backhaul downlinks from high-altitude platforms (HAPs) are investigated. An experiment demonstrated the advantages of optical links: a small and lightweight terminal with low power consumption was launched to the stratosphere and data transmitted down to a ground station at a rate of 1.25 Gbit/s: Owing to the chosen system parameters and the high budget margin, disturbing turbulence effects did not decrease the link performance. The scientific aspect of the experiment was to study turbulence effects in order to design future systems with higher transmission performance. On the day of the experiment, measured scintillation and wavefront distortions were minimal in the morning. The best atmospheric conditions were observed about 3 h after sunrise with a peak of the atmospheric coherence length r0 at 16 cm. An r0 of 4 cm was measured as the worst case before sunrise and later during the day. This trend could also be observed for power- and intensity scintillation index. The latter changed from 0.28 (best case) to 1.12. For small scintillation index a lognormal intensity probability density function was measured. Apart from the robust intensity modulation scheme with direct detection which was used for the trial, future improved systems could benefit from a coherent transmission scheme. According to the r0 measurements and further simulations on heterodyne efficiency it turned out that the aperture size can be decreased from 40 to 10 cm without any significant change in the link margin. Future stratospheric optical links between HAPs or links from platforms to satellites will not suffer from cloud blockage but it remains an issue for up/downlinks to a ground station. This can be mitigated by ground-station diversity. Four optical ground stations in the southern part of Europe can lead to an availability of over 98%. The separation distance of the ground stations is about 900 km with a negligible correlation of cloud cover. A change of wavelength from the employed 1.55 to a wavelength around 11 microns with minimum cloud attenuation would increase the link availability for thin clouds.

Document Type:Article
Title:Experimental verification of optical backhaul links for high-altitude platform networks: Atmospheric turbulence and downlink availability
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of Authors
Horwath, JoachimUNSPECIFIED
Perlot, NicolasUNSPECIFIED
Knapek, MarkusUNSPECIFIED
Moll, FlorianUNSPECIFIED
Date:September 2007
Journal or Publication Title:International Journal of Satellite Communications and Networking
Volume:25
Page Range:pp. 501-528
Publisher:Wiley
Status:Published
Keywords:Stratospheric optical payload experiment, Turbulence effects, Optical downlink availability, KNOCGOP
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W KN - Kommunikation/Navigation
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W KN - Kommunikation/Navigation
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Vorhaben Multimedia Satellitennetze (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Communication and Navigation > Digital Networks
Deposited By: Florian Moll
Deposited On:12 Mar 2008
Last Modified:12 Dec 2013 20:30

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