Abstract

Security issues of free-space optical (FSO) communications are discussed. Based on a subcarrier intensity-modulated air-to-ground FSO system model, we first analyze the coherence time of the air-to-ground FSO link and show that under practical assumptions, scintillation reciprocity holds in the FSO communication system. A private secret-key-based cryptosystem with key management is introduced to enhance FSO security, and a key agreement approach is proposed based on statistics of the random atmospheric-turbulence-induced fading channel measurements. The secret key rate of the key agreement scheme is investigated for the gamma–gamma turbulence model. Practical key agreement protocols based on bidirectional channel identification are designed for different FSO communication scenarios. Our numerical results reveal that the key rate is not sensitive to the strength of the atmospheric turbulence; the per-symbol signal-to-noise ratio and the training sequence length are the dominating factors.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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