ELE 885: Optical Communication Systems

Course Outline (W2017)





Dr. X. Fernando

Office: ENG437

Phone: (416) 979-5000 x 6077

Email: fernando at ryerson.ca

Office hours: Thursday 2-4 PM


Prerequisites          None


Course Text:

Optical Fiber Communications, Gerd Keiser, McGraw-Hill Higher Education 4/e or 3/e




Radio over Fiber for Wireless Communications, Xavier Fernando, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2014.



Calendar Description

The objective of the course is to provide a good understanding of optical communication systems and the ability to perform design calculations for basic passive optical networks. The course starts with introduction to light wave basics and geometric optics. Then single and multimode light wave propagation in step and graded index fibers and various dispersion mechanisms are then covered.  Coherent (LASER) and incoherent (LED) optical sources and modulation techniques are studied next. PIN and APD based optical receivers and various noise processes are then discussed. Students will then learn to do design calculation for a point-to-point optical fiber link and basic star/bus fiber networks. More complex fiber optic networks and WDM concept will then be introduced. Finally, radio over fiber systems will be briefly discussed. 





Course Organization

Lecture: Thursdays 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM at Yonge-Dundas Square 14


2  hours of tutorial per week every other week (refer your timetable)

Teaching Assistants: (Hasan Farahneh <hfarahne@ryerson.ca>)


Course Evaluation

Quiz #1                                                                  10%  (Feb 01, 2018)

Midterm exam                                                         35% (March 01, 2018)

Quiz #2                                                                  10%  (March 29, 2018)

Assignments                                                            0%

Final exam                                                              45% (TBD)

Total                                                                      100%



Midterm exam is for two hours, closed book.

Final exam, during exam period, three hours, and closed-book (covers Weeks 1-13).



During 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.




Course Content





Topic, description

Introduction, Wave basics (Ch1, 2)

1.1-1.3, 2.2

3 / 1

Overview of Optical Fiber Communications;

Basic Optical Laws and Definitions (Sec 2.2)


Optical Fibers (Ch2)

2.3.1-2.3.4, 2.4.1-2.4.2, 2.5, 2.6

4 .5/2-3

Optical fiber modes and configurations (Sec 2.3) Mode Theory (Sec. 2.41, 2.4.2)

Single Mode Fibers (2.5)

Graded Index Fibers (2.6)

Signal Degradation in Optical Fibers (Ch3)    

3.1, 3.2, 3.5

4.5 /3-4

Attenuation (3.1)

Wave guide Distortion (3.2)

Design Optimization (3.5)

Optical Sources (Ch4)

4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5

6 / 5-6

LED (4.2), Laser Diode (4.3)

Linearity (4.4), Noise (4.5)

Photo detectors and Receivers (Ch6, 7)           

6.1-6.3, 6.7,

7.1, 7.2

6 / 7-8

Overview of Physical Principles (6.1)

Noise (6.2), Response Time (6.3)

Comparisons (6.7), Digital Receivers

Digital Transmission Systems (Ch8)

12.5, 12.7, 12.8, 12.12

6 /9-10

Point to Point Links (8.1), Power Budget (8.1.2), Rise Time Limit (8.1.3), Line Coding (8.2)

Optical Networks and WDM

(Ch10, 12)




WDM Concepts and Components, Optical Networks, SONET, BLSR, UPSR, Broadcast and Select WDM Networks

*Radio over Fiber




Fiber wireless systems, losses and gains, power budget calculations, optical, electrical and cumulative SNRs


* Reference book







Problem Set – 1: Waves


Problem Set -2: The Fiber


Problem Set -3: The Optical Transmitters


Problem Set 4: The Optical Receivers


Problem Set - 5: Digital Network Design and Radio over Fiber


Important Notes


  1. All of the required course-specific answer sheets will be assessed not only on their technical/academic merit, but also on the communication skills exhibited through these reports.

2.   Should a student miss an exam or equivalent, with appropriate documentation, a make-up will be scheduled as soon as possible in the same semester. Make-ups should cover the same material as the original assessment but need not be of an identical format. Only if it is not possible to schedule such a make-up may the weight of the missed work be placed on another single assessment. This may not cause that exam or assessment to be worth more than 70% of the student’s final grade. If a student misses a scheduled make-up test or exam, the grade may be distributed over other course assessments even if that makes the grade on the final exam worth more than 70% of the final grade in the course.

3.   Students who miss a final exam for a verifiable reason and who cannot be given a make-up exam prior to the submission of final course grades, must be given a grade of INC (as outlined in the Grading Promotion and Academic Standing Policy) and a make-up exam (normally within 2 weeks of the beginning of the next semester) that carries the same weight and measures the same knowledge, must be scheduled.

4.   Medical or Compassionate documents for the missing of an exam must be submitted within 3 working days of the exam. Students are responsible for notifying the instructor that they will be missing an exam as soon as possible.

5.  Requests for accommodation of specific religious or spiritual observance must be presented to the instructor no later than two weeks prior to the conflict in question (in the case of final examinations within two weeks of the release of the examination schedule). In extenuating circumstances this deadline may be extended. If the dates are not known well in advance because they are linked to other conditions, requests should be submitted as soon as possible in advance of the required observance. Given that timely requests will prevent difficulties with arranging constructive accommodations, students are strongly encouraged to notify the instructor of an observance accommodation issue within the first two weeks of classes.

6.   The results of the first test of mid-term test will be returned to students before the dead line to drop an undergraduate course in good Academic Standing.

8.  Students are required to adhere to all relevant University policies including the Student Code of Academic Conduct (www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol60.pdf) and Non-Academic Conduct (www.ryerson.ca/senate/policies/pol61.pdf)

9.    Students are required to obtain and maintain a Ryerson Matrix e-mail account for timely communications between the instructor and the students.

10.  Any changes in the course outline, test dates, marking or evaluation will be discussed in class prior to being implemented.