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Ambient light is the main impairment in indoor wireless optical communication systems for data rates up to several megabits per second. Its wide dynamic range, associated with the strong directivity of wireless optical signals, produce large variations on the received signal-to-noise ratio. This article discusses experimental results obtained from a testbed developed to compare different techniques for SNR improvement. The two techniques analyzed are rate-adaptive transmission, which introduces adaptive levels of redundancy in the transmitted signal to improve connectivity, and angle diversity reception, which exploits the inherent directionality of both signal and noise to improve the SNR at the receiver. Furthermore, systems employing both techniques simultaneously were also considered. The testbed replicated a typical indoor environment with both natural and artificial light, containing incandescent and fluorescent light sources. Both the SNR and the associated coverage areas were determined for all considered techniques. Our results show that the combined use of angle diversity based on maximal ratio combining and rate adaptation through the use of repetition coding achieves very good performance with only moderate complexity, allowing connectivity at all locations with data rates close to the maximum possible. In particular, with incandescent illumination and without angle diversity, the data rate had to be decreased down to 2 and 1 Mb/s in 25.9 and 7.7 percent of the room, area, respectively, whereas with maximal ratio combining a decrease to 2 Mb/s was only needed in 0.7 percent of the room area.
Date of Publication: April 2003