Amplitude-Coherent Detection for Optical Wireless Communications: Opportunities and Limitations

The proliferation of ubiquitous computing applications created a multi-dimensional optimization problem that includes several conflicting variables such as spectral efficiency, complexity, power consumption, delay, and error probability. To relax the problem and provide efficient solutions, it was necessary to augment the currently overutilized radio spectrum with new frequency bands such as the optical spectrum, which can be used to off-load some of the traffic of certain applications. Therefore, this paper presents an efficient system design that uses amplitude-coherent (AC) detection to reduce OWC system's complexity, improve its reliability and spectral efficiency. More specifically, we use amplitude shift keying with orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) at the transmitter, and AC detection at the receiver. The complexity reduction is achieved by using a low complexity detector, channel estimator, and peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR) reduction scheme. The spectral efficiency is achieved by using real data symbols with discrete cosine transform (DCT), which requires a subcarrier spacing that is 50% of the discrete Fourier transform (DFT), and does not require Hermitian symmetry to generate real-valued OFDM signals. Moreover, the derived channel estimator is blind, and the PAPR reduction scheme does not require a feedback overhead between the transmitter and receiver.