Free-space optical (FSO) communication links provide high data rates; however, their reliability is heavily dependent on weather conditions. This paper presents our experimental urban 1.87 km FSO link based on a customized commercial system and develops a library of channel measurements in clear and light rain weather conditions. A channel model for the link is proposed and experimentally quantified. Channel measurements are obtained by modulating a 60 mW laser source. At the receiver, a 2 GSa/s data converter is used and 16 fast-Fourier transform cores are implemented in the hardware to improve noise immunity. The resulting signal-to-noise ratio of the channel samples is around 40 dB under clear weather conditions. Fittings with log-normal, gamma–gamma, and Erlang distributions are presented, and the scintillation index and coherence time are measured. A computationally efficient finite-state Markov chain is derived for the channel to model both the distribution and the autocorrelation of the fading and is verified by the measurements. The Markov models and channel measurements in a variety of atmospheric conditions are available for download to permit easy verification of communication algorithms on this urban FSO channel.
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