Three radio over fiber link types are compared to assess their relative performance for the optical transmission of next generation wireless signals having multiple wideband radio channels with high-level modulation. These links differ in their choice of modulation device; either a directly modulated laser (DML) or external modulation using a Mach–Zehnder modulator (MZM) or a reflective semiconductor optical amplifier (RSOA). The DML and RSOA link types are shown to suffer minimal degradation of the uplink wireless range compared to the baseline value without an optical link, using optimum components in terms of cost and performance. The optimum technology depends on the relative merits of simplicity (DML) or optical network architecture flexibility (RSOA).
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