A 150 km free-space optical (FSO) communication link between Maui (Haleakala) and Hawaii
(Mauna Loa) was demonstrated by JHU/APL and AOptix Technologies, Inc. in September 2006.
Over a 5 day period, multiple configurations including single channel 2.5 Gbps transmission,
single channel 10 Gbps, and four wavelength division multiplexed (WDM) 10 Gbps channels for
an aggregate data rate of 40 Gbps were demonstrated. Links at data rates from 10 to 40 Gb/s were
run in excess of 3 contiguous hours. Data on the received power, frame synchronization losses,
and bit error rate were recorded.
This paper will report on the data transfer performance (bit error rates, frame synchronization
issues) of this link over a 5 day period. A micropulse lidar was run concurrently, and on a
parallel path with the FSO link, recording data on scattering loss and visibility. Comparisons
between the state of the link due to weather and the data transfer performance will be described.
AOptix demonstrated a simulated air-to-air laser communications (laser-com) system over a 147Km distance by
establishing a laser communication link between the islands of Hawaii and Maui. We expect the atmospheric conditions
encountered during this demonstration to be representative of the worst seeing conditions that could be expected for an
actual air to air link. AOptix utilized laser-com terminal incorporating Adaptive Optics (AO) to perform high speed
tracking and aberration correction to reduce the effects of the seeing.
The demonstration showed the feasibility of establishing high data rate point to point laser-com links between aircraft. In
conjunction with Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory networking equipment we were able to
demonstrate a 40Gbit DWDM link, providing significantly more data throughput than is available using RF
In addition to being very high data rate, the link demonstrates very low beam spread, which gives very high covertness,
and a high degree of data security. Since the link is based on 1550nm optical wavelengths it is inherently resistant to
A free-space optical (FSO) communication demonstration was conducted with JHU/APL and AOptix at the TCOM Test Facility in Elizabeth City, NC in May 2006. The primary test objective was to evaluate the performance of an FSO link from a fiber-tethered aerostat to a ground platform at effective data rates approaching 100 Gigabits/sec using wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) techniques. (Multiple optical channels operating near 1550 nm were modulated at data rates of 1, 10 and 40 Gbps). The test was conducted with a 38 meter aerostat raised to an altitude of 1 km and a ground platform located 1.2 km from the aerostat (limited by property boundary). Error free data transfers of 1.2 Terabits in 30 seconds at 40 Gbps were demonstrated. The total data transferred during the test was greater than 30 Terabits with an average BER of 10<sup>-6</sup> without any forward error correction (FEC) coding.