Understanding the Performance of Free-Space Optics

Given the relative newness of free‐space optics (FSO) technology in commercial applications, very few standardized metrics exist for comparing the performance of different systems. The goal of this paper is to explain some of the design issues surrounding FSO systems and provide sufficient information to allow potential users to evaluate the suitability of a specific FSO system for a particular application. In addition, this document will attempt to define the realistic performance limitations of FSO based upon existing technology, as well as set reasonable expectations with regard to atmospheric conditions.

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