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Keywords:

  • drop size distribution (DSD);
  • optical communication links (OCL);
  • optical Ground Station (OGS);
  • specific attenuation;
  • visual range;
  • free space optics (FSO)

Abstract

Wireless optical communication links (OCL), or free space optics links involving optical ground stations are highly influenced by the earth atmosphere due to the interaction of the optical wave with particles of different size and shape. Fog, clouds, rain and snow cause significant signal attenuation, thus limiting the performance of OCL. In this paper, we consider the behavior of OCL in the troposphere under moderate continental fog conditions, which are important for both ground–ground and ground–space OCL. The impact of the droplet size distribution (DSD) of fog is investigated, by processing laser attenuation measurements carried out in Milan (Italy) and Graz (Austria). Significant differences are observed between measured and predicted attenuation when using standard values for the DSD parameters. Hence, new sets of DSD parameters are proposed to model peak, mean and median values of measured attenuation for moderate continental fog. These, in turn, can be useful to make accurate link availability predictions, thus improving the quality of service design for OCL. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.