Face-to-Face EML Transceiver Tandem for Full-Duplex Analogue Radio-over-Air
JLT, vol. 38, no. 11, pp. 2976-2983, Jun. 2020
B. Schrenk, D. Milovancev, N. Vokic, and F. Karinou
An analogue coherent-optical free-space link for local cloud-based radio access networks is proposed and experimentally demonstrated. The adoption of a single externally modulated laser as optical transmitter and coherent homodyne receiver at either link end guarantees conceptual simplicity for the opto-electronic sub-systems of this optical fronthaul. The realization of full-duplex signal transmission over a single, laser-based transceiver device further allows to off-load the directional split in the optically fronthauled radio signal chain to the radio-frequency domain. We prove this concept for an in-door link and show that bidirectional transmission of orthogonally frequency division multiplexed radio signals with 64-point quadrature amplitude modulated formats is possible over an optical budget of 21.3 dB, or over an estimated reach of ~100 m in case of bad atmospheric conditions. A small penalty of less than 1% in terms of error vector magnitude compared to a direct-detection receiver confirms the correct operation of the low-complexity coherent homodyne detector, even though no digital signal processing functions are applied for the purpose of signal recovery. Continuous long-term measurements including Ethernet payloads confirm the stability of the free-space optical link architecture, for which a small fraction of less than 1% has shown an excursion in reception penalty.