The availability of Channel State Information (CSI) and the effects of channel memory on the capacities and the achievable rates of free-space optical communication channels are investigated. For memoryless channels, the capacities and achievable rates are computed and compared for both uniform and “positive” Gaussian inputs subject to different assumptions on the CSI availability. For the strong turbulence regime, it is shown that the knowledge of CSI both at the transmitter and the receiver increases the achievable rates for low-to-moderate Signal-to-Noise Ratios (SNRs) in comparison to the cases for which the CSI is known only at the receiver. For the weak turbulence regime however, the availability of CSI at both ends of the link does not provide any improvement over a system with CSI known at the receiver alone, and we find that a simple channel inversion technique suffices. In addition, for low SNRs, Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) with $M \geq 4$ levels outperforms Gaussian-distributed inputs regardless of the knowledge of CSI at the transmitter. For high SNRs, a Gaussian distribution gives superior results, implying the need for new, more efficient positive signal constellations. For channels with memory and without knowledge of CSI, a change in the channel quasifrequency has negligible effects on the capacity for any turbulence regime.
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