Comparing microwaves with lasers


Calculator corrections with the assistance of Megan Argo, August/September 2003



Transmitter power Footprint diameter
Tx telescope diameter Pointing accuracy (10% loss)
Rx telescope diameter Power received
Efficiency Data rate

This calculator makes the assumption that the communication system is optimised to the theoretical maximum (quantum limit, ~10 photons received per bit).

The 'Efficiency' term is simply a scaling factor applied to received power, intended to take into account any system losses (including atmospheric losses, if a ground-based system is intended).

Just change any of the input parameters manually, or any of the units. The calculations are updated automatically on any change.

Typical laser wavelengths might be 1550nm (NIR) or 532nm (visible). A suitable microwave wavelength might be 25mm.

Originally created by Andrew McGrath on August 27, 2002