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We review a novel free space optical (FSO) system that represents a significant breakthrough in the area of FSO communications. The system encompasses a pair of novel terminals: these allow direct and transparent optical connection to common single mode fibers and include a dedicated electronic control unit that effectively tracks the signal beam wandering due to atmospheric turbulence and mechanical vibrations. Further improvement in the signal power stabilization is achieved by means of saturated EDFAs. These solutions allow to realize a new FSO system, which is tested in a double-pass FSO link between two buildings in Pisa, Italy. When the terminals are fed by common WDM signals they allow enough power budget and margins to support a record high capacity transmission (32times40 Gbit/s), with a enormous improvement of stability (six hours with no error burst). During day-long transmission, the system behavior has been deeply characterized to correlate any increase of bit error ratio (BER) to the FSO control parameters.
Date of Publication: December 2009