Optical Communication Systems

Module number: EI5075

Duration: 1 Semester

Occurence: Winter semester

Language: English

Number of ECTS: 6


Professor in charge: Norbert Hanik

Amount of work

Contact hours: 60

Self-studying hours: 120

Total: 180

Description of achievement and assessment methods

During a written exam without aids students proof that they are able to apply physical models and analyse performance/properties of communication systems by answering questions and solving related calculations.

Exam type: written

Exam duration: 90min.

Possibilityof re-taking: In the next semester: Yes At the end of the semester: No

Homework: No

Lecture: No

Conversation: No

Written paper: No

Recommended reqirements

Differential / Integral calculus, Vector analysis, signal representation in time and frequency domain, statistical methods of communications engineering, electromagnetic field theory.

  • Lectures that generally cover the required topics:
  • Advanced mathematics
  • Communications engineering
  • Statistical signal theorySignal representation
  • Electromagnetic field theory / High frequency engineering

It is recommended to take the following modules additionally:Simulation of Optical communications systems laboratory (EI5030)


General Structure of optical Wavelength-Division-Multiplexed-Transmission Systems. Optical Transmitters and Modulators: LED, Laser, Direct Modulation, Mach-Zehnder-Modulator. Physical properties of standard single mode fibres: attenuation, chromatic dispersion, polarisation mode dispersion. Physical Origin and impact of Fiber nonlinearities: Four-Wave Mixing, Raman Scattering, Self- and Cross-Phase Modulation. Optical amplifiers. Optical filters. Optical receiver. Generation and detection of various optical modulation schemes: NRZ/RZ intensity modulation, suppressed carrier RZ, RZ-DPSK, RZ-DQPSK, Multi-Level modulation schemes. Direct detection, differential detection, coherent detection. Modelling optical signal propagation using the Nonlinear Schroedinger Equation (NLS). Numerical solution of the NLS. Performance evaluation of Optical Transmission Systems: Bit Error Ratio, system margin, system penalty. Optical/electrical equalisation of signal distortions. Optimised system design. High-channel WDM systems, ultra-long-haul systems, Soliton systems.

Study goals

At the end of the module students are able to understand and apply physical models of all relevant components of current optical communication systems.

They are capable to analyse the performance of optical communication systems with respect to transmission quality and signal perturbations, both analytically and by numerical simulation using Matlab programs that are elaborated and discussed during lecture and tutorial. The students have profound knowledge to designoptical communication systems for given boundary conditions. Furthermore the students have gained insight into optimization of optical communication systems including all relevant linear and nonlinear transmission effects.

Teaching and learning methods

The module is composed of a lecture (3SWS) and a tutorial (1SWS).

In the lecture the topics are presented using power point and blackboard

In the tutorial concrete problems are solved and additional examples are treated.

Teaching method:

During the lectures students are instructed in a teacher-centered style. The students are encouraged to read supporting literature and apply the discussed analytical and numerical methods on their own PC.

The exercises are held in a student-centered way.

Media formats

The following kinds of media are used:

  • Presentations
  • Lecture notes
  • Exercises with solutions as download


The following literature is recommended:

  • G. P. Agrawal: Lightwave Technology:Telecommunication Systems, Wiley-Interscience, 2005
  • G. Keiser: Optical Fiber Communications, McGraw-Hill, 2000