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Table 1 Comparison between RF and OW systems

From: A review of communication-oriented optical wireless systems

  OW RF
Bandwidth Not regulated Licensed
Available line rates < 10 Gb/s < 1.25 Gb/s
Path losses High High
Multipath fading No (large collector area) Yes
Multipath distortion Only in diffuse indoor systems Yes
Noise sources Ambient light Interference from other users, electrical noise
Detection type Incoherent Coherent/Incoherent
SNR Depends on optical signal power Depends on RF signal amplitude
Receiver sensitivity Low High
Eye safety Required N/A
Electromagnetic compatibility Yes Conditional