Abstract

Despite the benefits of free-space optical (FSO) communications, their full utilization is limited by the influence of atmospheric weather conditions, such as fog, turbulence, smoke, snow, etc. In urban environments, additional environmental factors such as smog and dust particles due to air pollution caused by industry and motor vehicles may affect FSO link performance, which has not been investigated in detail yet. Both smog and dust particles cause absorption and scattering of the propagating optical signal, thus resulting in high attenuation. This work investigates the joint impact of atmospheric turbulence and dust particle-imposed scattering on FSO link performance as part of the last-mile access network in urban areas. Propagation of an optical wave is at first analyzed based on the microphysic approach, and the extinction caused by small particles is determined. An experimental measurement campaign using a dedicated test chamber is carried out to assess FSO link performance operating wavelengths of 670 nm and 830 nm and under dust and turbulent conditions. The measured attenuation and the Q factor in terms of the velocity of particle flow and turbulence strength are analyzed. We show that for an airflow of 2 m/s, the Q factor is almost 3.5 higher at the wavelength of 830 nm than at 670 nm. However, for a wavelength of 670 nm, the FSO link is less affected by the increase in airflow compared to 830 nm. The Q factor reduces with turbulence. Under similar turbulence conditions, for ash particles, the Q factor is higher than that of sand particles.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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