Signal Quality Ratios

When designing or analyzing the performance of an analog or digital link, the following signal metrics are commonly used…

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Optical Receiver Analysis (PIN-TIA-LA)

The overall performance of a point-to-point optical communication link is normally defined based on the minimum average optical power, measured at the input to the optical receiver…

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Matched Filter Analysis

A matched filter is an ideal filter which acts upon a received signal so as to maximize its signal to noise ratio (SNR). Under conditions of additive white Gaussian noise, the SNR…

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Digital Modulation Analysis (PSK)

Digital modulation systems are used to transmit digital (quantized) information over a medium such as air or optical fiber. Transmission is achieved by mapping the information…

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MATLAB Data Formats

This application note will describe the Matlab Data Formats that are available within OptiSystem.

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Optical Coherent Receiver Sensitivity Analysis

Optical coherent receiver technology can provide theoretical sensitivity levels to the order of 10’s of photons/bit. This application note provides an overview of common coherent receiver architectures…

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OptiSystem Overview

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In an industry where cost effectiveness and productivity are imperative for success, the award winning OptiSystem can minimize time requirements and decrease cost related to the design of optical systems, links, and components. OptiSystem is an innovative, rapidly evolving, and powerful software design tool that enables users to plan, test, and simulate almost every type of optical link in the transmission layer of a broad spectrum of optical networks from LAN, SAN, MAN to ultra-long-haul. It offers transmission layer optical communication system design and planning from component to system level, and visually presents analysis and scenarios.


  • Provides global insight into system performance
  • Assesses parameter sensitivities aiding design tolerance specifications
  • Visually presents design options and scenarios to prospective customers
  • Delivers straightforward access to extensive sets of system characterization data
  • Provides automatic parameter sweep and optimization
  • Integrates with the family of Optiwave products


Created to address the needs of research scientists, optical telecom engineers, system integrators, students and a wide variety of other users, OptiSystem satisfies the demand of the evolving photonics market for a powerful yet easy to use optical system design tool.

OptiSystem enables users to plan, test, and simulate (in both the time and frequency domain):

  • Optical network designs including OTDM, SONET/ SDH rings, CWDM, DWDM, PON, Cable, OCDMA
  • Single-mode/multi-mode transmission
  • Free space optics (FSO), Radio over fiber (ROF), OFDM (direct, coherent)
  • Amplifiers and lasers (EDFA, SOA, Raman, Hybrid, GFF optimization, Fiber Lasers)
  • Signal processing (Electrical, Digital, All-Optical)
  • Transmitter and receiver (direct/coherent) sub system design
  • Modulation formats (RZ, NRZ, CSRZ, DB, DPSK, QPSK, DP-QPSK, PM-QPSK, QAM-16, QAM-64)
  • System performance analysis (Eye Diagram/ Q-factor/BER, Signal power/OSNR, Polarization states, Constellation diagrams, Linear and non-linear penalties)

“ As optical systems become more and more complex,
scientists and engineers must increasingly adopt
advanced software simulation techniques for vital
assistance with design issues. OptiSystem’s power
& flflexibility facilitates effificient & effective photonic


Dr. Govind p. Agrawal,
Institute of Optics, University of Rochester and author
of Fiber-Optics Communications Systems


Component Library

The OptiSystem Component Library includes hundreds of components that enable you to enter parameters that can be measured from real
devices. It integrates with test and measurement equipment from different vendors. Users can incorporate new components based on
subsystems and user-defined libraries, or utilize co-simulation with a third party tool such as MATLAB or SPICE.

Integration with Optiwave Software Tools

OptiSystem allows you to employ specific Optiwave software tools for integrated and fiber optics at the component and circuit level: OptiSPICE, OptiBPM, OptiGrating, and OptiFiber.

Mixed signal representation

OptiSystem handles mixed signal formats for optical and electrical signals in the Component Library. OptiSystem calculates the signals using the appropriate algorithms related to the required simulation accuracy and efficiency.

Quality and performance algorithms

In order to predict the system performance, OptiSystem calculates parameters such as BER and Q-Factor using numerical analysis or semi-analytical techniques for systems limited by inter-symbol interference and noise.

Advanced visualization tools

Advanced visualization tools produce OSA Spectra, signal chirp, eye diagrams, polarization state, constellation diagrams and much more. Also included are WDM analysis tools listing signal power, gain, noise figure, and OSNR per channel.

Data monitors

You can select component ports to save the data and attach monitors after the simulation ends. This allows you to process data after the simulation without recalculating. You can attach an arbitrary number of visualizers to the monitor at the same port.

Hierarchical simulation with subsystems

To make a simulation tool flexible and efficient, it is essential to provide models at different abstraction levels, including the system, subsystem, and component levels. OptiSystem features a truly hierarchical definition of components and systems, allowing the simulation to be as detailed as the desired accuracy dictates.

Powerful Script language

You can enter arithmetical expressions for parameters and create global parameters that can be shared between components and subsystems using standard VB Script language. The script language can also manipulate and control OptiSystem, including calculations, layout creation and post-processing.

State-of-the-art calculation data-flow

The Calculation Scheduler controls the simulation by determining the order of execution of component modules according to the selected data flow model. The main data flow model that addresses the simulation of the transmission layer is the Component Iteration Data Flow (CIDF). The CIDF domain uses run-time scheduling, supporting conditions, data-dependent iteration, and true recursion. OptiSystem Optical Communication System and Amplifier Design Software

Report page

A fully customizable report page allows you to display any set of parameters and results available in the design. The produced reports are organized into resizable and moveable spreadsheets, text, 2D and 3D graphs. It also includes HTML export and templates with pre-formatted report layouts.

Bill of materials

OptiSystem provides a cost analysis table of the system being designed, arranged by system, layout or component. Cost data can be exported to other applications or spreadsheets.

Multiple layouts

You can create many designs using the same project file, which allows you to create and modify your designs quickly and efficiently. Each OptiSystem project file can contain many design versions. Design versions are calculated and modified independently, but calculation results can be combined across different versions, allowing for comparison of the designs.


OptiSystem provides the most comprehensive optical communication and photonics design suite for optical design engineers. Its key features include:

Transmitters library

OptiSystem’s Transmitters library contains an extensive selection of optical sources (Fabry-Perot, DFB, VCSEL), electrical and optical signal pulse
generators, optical modulators (EA, MZ), electrical modulators and coders (QAM, PAM, FSK, OFDM) and multi-mode signal generators (Laguerre-Gaussian, Hermite-Gaussian).

Designers can choose between advanced physical-based or measurement-based (empirical) models for modeling the static and dynamic behavior of semiconductor lasers. Our physical-based models include 1D and 2D multi-mode laser rate equations, providing designers with the ability to switch between bulk laser rate models and the transmission line matrix method (TLMM).

Receivers library

The Receivers library contains all the building blocks needed to accurately model optical communication receiver sub-systems. Components include regenerators (clock/data recovery, 3R), electronic equalizers, threshold detectors, decision circuits for PSK/QAM modulation, PIN and APD photo-detectors, demodulators (OFDM, frequency, phase amplitude), decoders (PAM, QAM, PSK, etc.), and digital signal processing (DSP) tool sets for single and dual polarization coherent PSK and QAM systems.

Optical fibers

Advanced, highly parameterized, optical fiber models can be used to characterize single mode and multi-mode signal propagation; including linear (dispersion), stochastic (PMD), and non-linear impairments (FWM, self-phase modulation, and cross-phase modulation). Using OptiSystem’s Bidirectional optical fiber component, it is possible to model and measure Rayleigh, Brillouin and Raman scattering effects.



A comprehensive suite of steady state and dynamic optical amplifier models is provided, including advanced doped fiber models (Er, Er multi-mode, Er-Yb, Yb, Yb multi-mode, Tm, Pr) for detailed physical fiber amplifier design; EDFA and EDFA black box (gain spectrum, noise figure measurements) for WDM network systems design; dynamic and average power Raman models; and 1D/2D semiconductor optical amplifier models (lumped rate equation, travelling wave, TLMM). Electrical domain amplifiers are also provided for receiver design (transimpedance, automatic gain control and limiting amplifier applications).

Network design tools

Network design tools include ideal and non-ideal models for optical switches, multiplexers, de-multiplexers, array waveguides (AWGs), fiber connectors, and PMD emulators.


A variety of electrical and optical filters are provided for sub-system and system design simulation including standard filter functions (Bessel, Gaussian, RC, Raised Cosine, etc.), digital IIR/FIR filters, periodic filters, reflective/FBG filters, measured filters, S-parameters filter, and acousto-optic.


An extensive selection of optical and electrical passive components can be used to build a variety of component and sub-system designs. Optical devices include attenuators, couplers, splitters and combiners, polarization controllers, reflectors, taps, isolators, and circulators. Electrical devices include 180 and 90 degree hybrid couplers, DC blockers, power splitters and combiners, and RF transmission lines.

Models are also provided to allow designers to use measured data to characterize device transfer functions, including small signal scattering (S) matrices and the Jones matrix.

Signal processing

Signal processing tools are provided for manipulating optical, electrical and binary signals. Functions and operations include bias generators, gain, signal addition and subtraction, normalizers, electrical differentiators and integrators, down-samplers, serial-parallel and parallel-serial converters, electrical flip flops, and electrical/binary logic operators.

Spatial and free space optics design tools

OptiSystem has specialized components that can model free space optical channels (antenna characteristics, atmospheric propagation) and the spatial analysis of multi-mode signal coupling between devices (multi-mode generators, spatial connectors, thin lenses, spatial visualizers).

Visualization tools

Visualization and post-simulation analysis tools include BER test sets and analyzers, eye diagram analyzers, spectrum analyzers, oscilloscopes, optical time domain viewers, power meters, polarization analyzers, spatial visualizers, encircled flux, DMD analyzer, photonic all parameter analyzer, filter analyzer, and S-parameter extractor.

BTI utilizes OptiSystem simulation software for
research in optical transmission link designs, ROADM
capabilities and advanced research in optical signal
regeneration and amplification.


“OptiSystem’s capabilities enhance our design process
allowing us to provide a rapid delivery of enhanced
capabilities on our microWDM platform. The technical
support from the Optiwave team meets our expectations
in achieving the desired simulation requirements.”


Dr. Ahmed Atieh,
Technical Lead Engineer