Secrecy capacities in space-division multiplexed fiber optic communication systems

Kyle Guan, Antonia M. Tulino, Peter J. Winzer, Emina Soljanin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Space-division multiplexed (SDM) fiber optic transmission systems can not only increase system capacity, but also achieve physical-layer security against fiber tapping attacks. In this paper, we examine the information-theoretic security of optical multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO) SDM by evaluating the tradeoff between the achievable information rate and the confidentiality for different channel dynamics. In particular, we provide problem formulations for secure communication over these channels and study three types of secrecy capacities: 1) guaranteed capacity; 2) outage capacity; and 3) average capacity, each serving as a performance metric for a coding strategy tailored to a specific type of MIMO-SDM channel. We also assess the impact of key system parameters, such as the number of modes, the mode-dependent loss (MDL), and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), on the various secrecy capacities. Our results indicate that, with a proper design of channel codes that balance information rate and security, an SDM system has the potential of offering confidential data transmission at a rate that could be orders of magnitude higher than what can be achieved through other means of encryption. Moreover, we show that MDL, unavoidably induced by fiber tapping, can allow information-theoretic security even if the SNR of the eavesdropper's receiver is better than that of the legitimate receiver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7047871
Pages (from-to)1325-1335
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


  • Space-division Multiplexing (SDM)
  • modedependent loss (MDL)
  • secrecy capacity


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