This Feature Issue is based on extended revised versions of top-ranked papers presented at the Optical Networks and Systems Symposium and the Optical Wireless Communications Workshop that were held at the IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC 2016). The papers appearing in this Feature Issue cover a wide range of topics, including visible light communications, passive optical networks, and 5G optical transport networks.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

Optical networks and systems (ONS) offer effective solutions in different network segments, including access, metro, and backbone networks; intra- and inter-datacenter networks; high-performance computing system interconnections; etc. Meanwhile, the emerging software-defined networking and network function virtualization paradigms are completely reshaping the concept of networking, with a strong impact on flexibility and programmability requirements for optical network architectures, switching nodes, transmission systems, and 5G fronthaul/backhaul transport infrastructures.

Additionally, the emerging technology of optical wireless communications (OWC) has gained enormous popularity in recent years as a complementary technology to communications based on optical fibers and radio frequency, for both indoor and outdoor applications. This continuously evolving trend leads to a number of research and development challenges that still need to be addressed by the scientific community, especially in view of the upcoming unifying 5G scenario.

The IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC) is the flagship conference of the IEEE Communications Society and, as such, represents a world-class event for showcasing state-of-the-art solutions and recent advances on optical communications and networking technologies. In particular ICC 2016, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from May 23 to 27, offered a particularly rich technical program on the subject fields, hosting both the ONS Symposium and the successful 2nd Workshop on OWC.

In recognition of the historical presence and importance of the optical research community as part of the IEEE Communications Society, and in order to further promote the subject fields and strengthen active participation in the flagship event of ICC, the Editors-in-Chief of the Journal of Optical Communications and Networking (JOCN) have decided to publish a Feature Issue based on extended revised versions of the best papers presented at the ICC 2016 ONS Symposium and OWC Workshop. The top 17 papers, out of the total 58 papers presented at the two events, were selected for this Feature Issue, of which only 12 manuscripts were finally submitted in response to the call for papers. Following a rigorous peer-review process, only 9 manuscripts were selected for this Feature Issue, including two invited contributions.

This Feature Issue covers some topical aspects in both optical networks and OWC. Five papers deal with networking issues.

“Optical Transport Solutions for 5G Fixed Wireless Access [Invited]” by Skubic et al. proposes a 5G radio deployment scenario and evaluates a number of suitable optical transport solutions to satisfy service requirements for fixed broadband access. Based on different radio access network functional split options, which are currently still under debate, the manuscript offers solid insight on the challenges posed by the 5G fixed access service as well as the role, cost, and potentials of optical transport technologies.

“Effective Utilization of Unallocated Intervals in TDD-Based Fronthaul Employing TDM-PON” by Hisano et al. investigates the use of time-division-multiplexing passive optical networks as the fronthaul technology for 5G mobile access networks. The manuscript presents challenges posed by this kind of deployment in terms of latency and limited reachability of mobile base station remote radio heads, proposing solutions based on a novel approach aimed at effectively using the unallocated transmission intervals.

“Time- Versus Size-Based CPRI in Ethernet Encapsulation for Next Generation Reconfigurable Fronthaul” by Valcarenghi et al. deals with the use of Ethernet technology in the reconfigurable fronthaul segment of centralized radio access networks (C-RANs). The manuscript compares different techniques to encapsulate Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI) frames into Ethernet frames, taking into account the dynamic CPRI line bit rate reconfiguration and the impact on the strict C-RAN requirements in terms of delay and timing jitters. It finally demonstrates that the time-based encapsulation is the best option.

“Enhancing the Survivability and Power Savings of 5G Transport Networks Based on DWDM Rings” by Wong et al. presents design guidelines, under different deployment scenarios, for optical ring network topologies aimed at enhancing the survivability and the energy efficiency of 5G fronthaul/backhaul infrastructures implementing sleep mode operations. Survivable schemes are proposed that take advantage of out-of-band continuous wave signals providing constant network monitoring even during the transceiver sleep periods.

“Matheuristic With Machine-Learning-Based Prediction for Software-Defined Mobile Metro-Core Networks” by Alvizu et al. provides an original point of view on the adoption of machine-learning and matheuristic techniques to solve dynamic optical routing optimization problems in software-defined mobile carrier networks. The authors demonstrate that results obtained with off-line optimization can be effectively used to achieve near optimal solutions for on-line routing decisions.

The four remaining papers are focused on OWC topics.

“On the Coverage of Multiple-Input Multiple-Output Visible Light Communications [Invited]” by Chen et al. gives a comprehensive analysis on the performance of an indoor MIMO-VLC system based on non-Hermitian symmetry orthogonal frequency division multiplexing, and an imaging angle diversity receiver is presented. This analysis outlines a general framework for evaluating the illumination and communications coverage of an indoor MIMO-VLC system.

“Interference in IM/DD Optical Wireless Communication Networks” by Rahaim and Little shows the differences between interference in OWC networks and RF networks to indicate the potential impact of using conventional RF assumptions when modeling OWC network performance. Highlighted is a multi-cell OWC network with LOS interference as a specific area of interest for non-traditional interference models.

“Blind Transmitter IQ Imbalance Compensation in M-QAM Optical Coherent Systems” by Nguyen et al. investigates the transmitter IQ imbalance compensation based on the blind adaptive source separation (BASS) method in a dual polarization M-QAM optical coherent system. The proposed scheme is validated experimentally with 10-Gbaud optical 4- and 16-QAM at 30° and 10° phase imbalance, respectively.

“Sequential Detection for Optical Wireless Scattering Communication” by Liu et al. proposes sequential detection-based spectrum sensing for optical wireless scattering communication for both ideal photon-counting and photomultiplier tube (PMT) receivers. For PMT a one-term approximation—which substantially reduces the computational complexity—is introduced that shows a comparable number of samples to achieve certain miss detection and false alarm probabilities, which is significantly fewer than that required by the Gaussian approximation for a low PMT amplification factor.

We would like to thank all the authors who submitted their papers to this Feature Issue. Special thanks to all reviewers for their time and useful comments provided, which helped to greatly to improve the quality of already outstanding ICC 2016 papers. We also thank the JOCN Editors-in-Chief for the opportunity to prepare this Feature Issue and all the OSA Publishing Staff for their precious support.

We hope the readers will enjoy this Feature Issue as much as we did while preparing it.

Walter Cerroni and Zabih Ghassemlooy

Feature Issue Guest Editors

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