Course Outline (W2020)

ELE885: Optical Communication Systems

Instructor(s)Saber Amini [Coordinator]
Office: ENG 450
Phone: TBA
Email: saber.amini@ryerson.ca
Office Hours: Tuesdays 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Calendar DescriptionThis course provides a good understanding of the fundamentals of optical communications; both fiber optics and emerging optical wireless systems will be covered. Some of the topics are: high speed single mode and low speed multimode fibers, step and graded refractive index profiles, different dispersion mechanisms and their effect on high-speed links, advantage of coherent (LASER) light source over incoherent (LED) sources for long haul, high-speed links, photo detectors and their role in bit error rate (BER). Students will do design calculations for point to point and star type fiber optic networks, and they will also be introduced to Synchronous Optical Networks (SONET) and wavelength division multiplexing scenarios. Signal processing performance improvements will also be discussed.
PrerequisitesELE 635




Compulsory Text(s):
  1. Optical Fiber Communications, Gerd Keiser, McGraw-Hill Higher Education 4/e or 3/e
  2. Radio over Fiber for Wireless Communications, Xavier Fernando, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2014
Reference Text(s):
Learning Objectives (Indicators)  

At the end of this course, the successful student will be able to:

  1. Understanding mathematical expressions to describe electromagnetic waves. Single and multi mode light wave propagation in cylindrical optical fibres. (1b)
  2. Understanding material, wave-guide and modal dispersion mechanisms in cylindrical optical fibres. Effect of dispersion in achievable bit rate. Fibre bandwidth. (1c)
  3. Understanding spontaneous and stimulated light wave generation; multi longitudinal mode (MLM) lasers and, laser dynamics via rate equations. (1d)
  4. Photon detection. Different noise processes in optical receivers. Optimization of SNR. (2a)
  5. Trade-offs between various Fibre-Optic design issues: external vs direct modulation; optimum bias point; LED/Laser line width plus detector gain, bandwidth, transit time and, intrinsic layer width. Trade off between noise and bandwidth in optical receivers. (3b)
  6. Basic design of digital point to point fibre optic links. (4b)
  7. Appropriate parameter/device selection in passive bus and star fibre optical network. (4c)
  8. Design calculations for point to point, passive star and bus networks. (4a)

NOTE:Numbers in parentheses refer to the graduate attributes required by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB).

Course Organization

3.0 hours of lecture per week for 13 weeks
2.0 hours of lab/tutorial per week for 12 weeks

Teaching AssistantsTBA
Course Evaluation
Midterm Exam 35 %
Quizzes (in-class) 20 %
Tutorials 0 %
Final Exam 45 %
TOTAL:100 %

Note: In order for a student to pass a course with "Theory and Laboratory" components, in addition to earning a minimum overall course mark of 50%, the student must pass the Laboratory and Theory portions separately by achieving a minimum of 50% in the combined Laboratory components and 50% in the combined Theory components. Please refer to the "Course Evaluation" section for details on the Theory and Laboratory components.

ExaminationsMidterm exam in Week 7, two hours, multiple-choice and written, closed book (covers Weeks 1-6).
 Final exam, during exam period, three hours, multiple-choice and written, closed-book (covers Weeks 1-13).
Other Evaluation InformationDuring tutorial hours, students have the chance to clarify doubts with the Teaching Assistants. The TAs will also solve selected problem from the six the assignments on the board.
Other InformationNone

Course Content



Chapters /

Topic, description



Introduction Wave Basics (Chapters 12)
  - Overview of Optical Fiber Communications (Sec 1.1-1.3)
  - Basic Optical Laws and Definitions (Sec 2.2)



Optical Fibers (Chapter 2)
  - Optical fiber modes and configurations (Sec 2.3)
  - Mode Theory (Sec. 2.41 2.4.2)
  - Single Mode Fibers (Sec 2.5)
  - Graded Index Fibers (Sec 2.6)



Signal Degradation in Optical Fibers (Chapter 3)
  - Attenuation (Sec 3.1)
  - Wave guide Distortion (Sec 3.2)
  - Design Optimization (Sec 3.5)



Optical Sources (Chapter 4)
  - LED (Sec 4.2)
  - Laser Diode (Sec 4.3)
  - Linearity (Sec 4.4)
  - Noise (Sec 4.5)



Photo detectors and Receivers (Chapters 6 and 7)
  - Overview of Physical Principles (Sec 6.1)
  - Noise (Sec 6.2)
  - Response Time (Sec 6.3)
  - Comparisons (Sec 6.7)
  - Digital Receivers (Sec 7.1 7.2)



Digital Transmission Systems (Chapter 8)
  - Point to Point Links (Sec 8.1)
  - Power Budget (Sec 8.1.2)
  - Rise Time Limit (Sec 8.1.3)
  - Line Coding (Sec 8.2)



Optical Networks and WDM (Chapters 10 and 12)
  - WDM Concepts and Components
  - Optical Networks
  - BLSR
  - UPSR
  - Broadcast and Select WDM Networks



Radio over Fiber (Chapter 3)
  - Fiber wireless systems
  - losses and gains
  - power budget calculations
  - optical electrical and cumulative SNRs

Laboratory/Tutorials/Activity Schedule





Problem Set I

Fundamentals of optics


Problem Set 2

The Fiber


Problem Set 3

The Optical Transmitters


Problem Set 4

The Optical Receivers


Problem Set 5 and 6

Digital Network Design and Radio over Fiber

Policies & Important Information:

  1. Students are required to obtain and maintain a Ryerson e-mail account for timely communications between the instructor and the students;
  2. Any changes in the course outline, test dates, marking or evaluation will be discussed in class prior to being implemented;
  3. Assignments, projects, reports and other deadline-bound course assessment components handed in past the due date will receive a mark of ZERO, unless otherwise stated. Marking information will be made available at the time when such course assessment components are announced.
  4. Refer to our Departmental FAQ page for information on common questions and issues at the following link: https://www.ee.ryerson.ca/guides/Student.Academic.FAQ.html.

Missed Classes and/or Evaluations

When possible, students are required to inform their instructors of any situation which arises during the semester which may have an adverse effect upon their academic performance, and must request any consideration and accommodation according to the relevant policies as far in advance as possible. Failure to do so may jeopardize any academic appeals.

  1. Health certificates - If a student misses the deadline for submitting an assignment, or the date of an exam or other evaluation component for health reasons, they should notify their instructor as soon as possible, and submit a Ryerson Student Health Certificate AND an Academic Consideration Request form within 3 working days of the missed date. Both documents are available at https://www.ryerson.ca/senate/forms/medical.pdf.. If you are a full-time or part-time degree student, then you submit your forms to your own program department or school;
  2. Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual observance - If a student needs accommodation because of religious, Aboriginal or spiritual observance, they must submit a Request for Accommodation of Student Religious, Aboriginal and Spiritual Observance AND an Academic Consideration Request form within the first 2 weeks of the class or, for a final examination, within 2 weeks of the posting of the examination schedule. If the requested absence occurs within the first 2 weeks of classes, or the dates are not known well in advance as they are linked to other conditions, these forms should be submitted with as much lead time as possible in advance of the absence. Both documents are available at www.ryerson.ca/senate/forms/relobservforminstr.pdf. If you are a full-time or part-time degree student, then you submit the forms to your own program department or school;
  3. Academic Accommodation Support - Before the first graded work is due, students registered with the Academic Accommodation Support office (AAS - www.ryerson.ca/studentlearningsupport/academic-accommodation-support) should provide their instructors with an Academic Accommodation letter that describes their academic accommodation plan.

Academic Integrity

Ryerson's Policy 60 (the Academic Integrity policy) applies to all students at the University. Forms of academic misconduct include plagiarism, cheating, supplying false information to the University, and other acts. The most common form of academic misconduct is plagiarism - a serious academic offence, with potentially severe penalties and other consequences. It is expected, therefore, that all examinations and work submitted for evaluation and course credit will be the product of each student's individual effort (or an authorized group of students). Submitting the same work for credit to more than one course, without instructor approval, can also be considered a form of plagiarism.

Suspicions of academic misconduct may be referred to the Academic Integrity Office (AIO). Students who are found to have committed academic misconduct will have a Disciplinary Notation (DN) placed on their academic record (not on their transcript) and will normally be assigned one or more of the following penalties:

  1. A grade reduction for the work, ranging up to an including a zero on the work (minimum penalty for graduate work is a zero on the work);
  2. A grade reduction in the course greater than a zero on the work. (Note that this penalty can only be applied to course components worth 10% or less, and any additional penalty cannot exceed 10% of the final course grade. Students must be given prior notice that such a penalty will be assigned (e.g. in the course outline or on the assignment handout);
  3. An F in the course;
  4. More serious penalties up to and including expulsion from the University.

The unauthorized use of intellectual property of others, including your professor, for distribution, sale, or profit is expressly prohibited, in accordance with Policy 60 (Sections 2.8 and 2.10). Intellectual property includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Slides
  2. Lecture notes
  3. Presentation materials used in and outside of class
  4. Lab manuals
  5. Course packs
  6. Exams

For more detailed information on these issues, please refer to the Academic Integrity policy(https://www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol60.pdf) and to the Academic Integrity Office website (https://www.ryerson.ca/academicintegrity/).

Important Resources Available at Ryerson

  1. The Library (https://library.ryerson.ca/) provides research workshops and individual assistance. Inquire at the Reference Desk on the second floor of the library, or go to library.ryerson.ca/guides/workshops
  2. Student Learning Support(https://www.ryerson.ca/studentlearningsupport) offers group-based and individual help with writing, math, study skills and transition support, and other issues.