Student laboratory experiments exploring optical fibre communications, systems eye diagrams and bit error rates

D.J. Walsh, D. Moodie, I.S. Mauchline, S. Conner, W. Johnstone, B. Culshaw

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book


Optical fibre communications has proved to be one of the key application areas, which created, and ultimately propelled the global growth of the photonics industry over the last twenty years. Consequently the teaching of the principles of optical fibre communications has become integral to many university courses covering photonics technology. However to reinforce the fundamental principles and key technical issues students examine in their lecture courses and to develop their experimental skills, it is critical that the students also obtain hands-on practical experience of photonics components, instruments and systems in an associated teaching laboratory. In recognition of this need OptoSci, in collaboration with university academics, commercially developed a fibre optic communications based educational package (ED-COM). This educator kit enables students to; investigate the characteristics of the individual communications system components (sources, transmitters, fibre, receiver), examine and interpret the overall system performance limitations imposed by attenuation and dispersion, conduct system design and performance analysis. To further enhance the experimental programme examined in the fibre optic communications kit, an extension module to ED-COM has recently been introduced examining one of the most significant performance parameters of digital communications systems, the bit error rate (BER). This add-on module, BER(COM), enables students to generate, evaluate and investigate signal quality trends by examining eye patterns, and explore the bit-rate limitations imposed on communication systems by noise, attenuation and dispersion. This paper will examine the educational objectives, background theory, and typical results for these educator kits, with particular emphasis on BER(COM).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE Opto-Ireland 2005
Subtitle of host publicationPhotonic Engineering
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
EventOpto-Ireland 2005: Photonic Engineering - Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 4 Apr 20056 Apr 2005


ConferenceOpto-Ireland 2005: Photonic Engineering


  • laboratory experiments
  • eye diagrams
  • bit error rates
  • photonics industry

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Student laboratory experiments exploring optical fibre communications, systems eye diagrams and bit error rates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this