A media access control protocol for optical code-division multiple-access packet networks with variable length data traffic is proposed. This protocol exhibits a sliding window with variable size. A model for interference-level fluctuation and an accurate analysis for channel usage are presented. Both multiple-access interference (MAI) and photodetector's shot noise are considered. Both chip-level and correlation receivers are adopted. The system performance is evaluated using a traditional average system throughput and average delay. Finally, in order to enhance the overall performance, error control codes (ECCs) are applied. The results indicate that the performance can be enhanced to reach its peak using the ECC with an optimum number of correctable errors. Furthermore, chip-level receivers are shown to give much higher performance than that of correlation receivers. Also, it has been shown that MAI is the main source of signal degradation.
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