Free Space Optics

Heinz Willebrand / Baksheesh Ghuman
Januar 2002


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Free Space Optics will begin with the fundamentals of the technology before launching into FSO topologies, deployment issues, applications, and case studies.

Table of Contents

(NOTE: Each chapter concludes with a Summary.)


1. Introduction to Free-Space Optics.

Alternative Bandwidth Technologies. Fiber Versus FSO. The Role of FSO in the Network. Sources.

2. Fundamentals of FSO Technology.

How FSO Works: An Overview. Transmitters. Receivers. Optical Subsystems. Tracking and Acquisition. Link Margin Analysis.

3. Factors Affecting FSO.

Transmission of IR Signals Through the Atmosphere. The Impact of Weather. Line of Sight (LOS). Other Factors Affecting FSO. Selecting the Transmission Wavelength. Sources.

4. Integration of FSO in Optical Networks.

The Optical Networking Revolution. Benefits of Next-Generation Optical Networking. Classifying the Global Optical Network. Driving FSO from the Edge. FSO in Metropolitan Optical Networks.

5. The FSO Market.

The Telecommunications Market. Characteristics of the FSO Market. The Business Case for FSO. International Telecom Market. Sources.

6. Installation of Free-Space Optical Systems.

Obtaining the Site Survey. Infrastructure Installation. Verifying the Link. Maintaining and Supporting the System.

7. Free-Space Optics and Laser Safety.

Lasers and Eyes. Laser Safety Regulations. Laser Classification. Power Limitations for the New IEC60825-1 (2) Standard. Methods to Ensure Eye Safety. Bibliography.

8. Service Provider Issues.

The Shift to Carrier Class. Characteristics of Carrier Class FSO.

9. Alternative Access Technologies.

Digital Subscriber Lines. Cable Modems. Power Lines Communication (PLC). LMDS. MMDS. Unlicensed Microwave Systems. Fiber Access. FSO Versus the Alternatives.

10. The Outlook for FSO.

Service Providers, Business Customers, and Residential Customers. Moving to the Edge and Residential Areas. Environment and Community. The Competitive Landscape.

Appendix A. Frequently Asked Questions.

Appendix B. Laser Safety Resources.

Safety and Compliance Standards for Manufacturers. Laser Safety Standards for Users. Laser Safety Standards Organizations.



Back Cover

Free Space Optics will begin with the fundamentals of the technology before launching into FSO topologies, deployment issues, applications, and case studies.


Heinz Willebrand is the founder and chief technology officer of LightPointe. He studied physics at the University of Muenster and received his MS and Ph.D. from the Institute of Applied Physics in 1988 and 1992, respectively. In 1994, Heinz moved to the United States and held research positions at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, working on several DARPA- and NSF-sponsored projects related to fiber-optics communications and free-space optics. Heinz was also a technical advisor in the Global Telecommunications Management Program at the University of Colorado, where he taught classes in fiber optics and wireless communications technologies.

In 1995, Heinz co-founded Eagle Optoelectronics, Inc., as a small research company with the goal to commercialize fiber optics and free-space optics communication systems. The company attracted research and development funding from several government agencies. In 1998, Heinz spun off LightPointe from Eagle Optoelectronics with the goal to solely focus on the development and commercialization of high-capacity free-space optics systems.

Heinz is well known in the free-space optics and fiber-optics communities. He holds several patents and has been an invited speaker at many conferences covering various technical and business-related aspects of free-space optics. Heinz is considered one of the leading forces behind the recent success of free-space optics in the telecommunication industry.

Baksheesh S. Ghuman is a technology marketing expert and was most recently the chief marketing officer of LightPointe. At LightPointe Baksheesh covered three functional areas: product management, market communications, and market management. He was responsible for executing LightPointe's global marketing strategy, ensuring LightPointe's continued growth and leadership in free-space optics. A technologist by training, Baksheesh has more than 12 years of marketing experience in the field of telecommunications. He has held similar positions at Sorrento Networks, a manufacturer of optical networking equipment, and Electric Lightwave, a regional service provider. Baksheesh's experience has spanned a variety of roles in the fields of access, transport, switching, and management in metropolitan optical networking for carriers, CLECs, ISPs, RBOCs, and other service providers and vendors.

Baksheesh holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arya College, Punjab University, and a diploma in systems management from the National Institute of Information Technology, New Dehli. Baksheesh has both an MS in Telecommunications and an MBA with a Marketing concentration from Golden Gate University, San Francisco. He has also attended executive management programs at the Stanford University graduate school of business. In addition, Baksheesh has published several articles in leading telecommunications magazines.