Importance Sampling for Analysis of Direct Detection Optical Communication Systems

Narayan B. Mandayam, Behnaam Aazhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Analytical solutions of the performance of optical communication systems are difficult to obtain and often, Monte Carlo simulations are used to achieve realistic estimates of the performance of such systems. However, for high performance systems, this technique requires a large number of simulation trials for the estimates to be in a reasonable interval of confidence, with the number of trials increasing linearly with the performance of the system. We apply an Importance Sampling technique to estimate the performance of direct detection optical systems, where the “gain” of Importance Sampling over Monte Carlo simulations is shown to increase linearly with the system performance. Further, we use this technique to study the performance of optical communication systems employing avalanche photodetectors as well as fiber-optic code division multiple access systems (FO-CDMA). We also show that the quick simulation technique developed can be used for a wide variety of coding schemes, and for the first time, we present a comparative analysis of the performance of FO-CDMA systems employing optical orthogonal codes and prime sequences. In all cases, it is shown that Importance Sampling simulations require less than 50-100 trials for estimating error probabilities of 10-10 and below.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number234
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Avalanche Photodetection
  • Efficient Simulation Techniques
  • Exponential Tilt
  • Fiber Optic Communications
  • Importance Sampling
  • Optical Code Division Multiple Access


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