Amir Khandani

Amir Khandani

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo

Chair title

NSERC/Ciena Industrial Research Chair in Information Theory of Optical Networks

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Senior Chairholder since 2005


Optical networks are continually running short of capacity, requiring installation of new infrastructure with huge economic implications. It is important to increase the throughput and spectral efficiency of the existing infrastructure at minimum cost. In addition, numerous new applications are emerging, resulting in new paradigms in optical transmission. These new domains make it necessary to revisit design techniques in order to optimize cost vs. performance trade-offs. Examples include fibre-to-home, and fibre for backhaul connectivity of future wireless networks that relies on cloud configurations.

In the recent years, the research community has paid significant attention to the information-theoretical aspects of wireless networks, with numerous ground-breaking outcomes. However, the application of information-theoretical concepts to optical channels is still in its infancy. In addition to establishing limits on achievable performance, information-theoretical concepts will shed light on the practical realization of the gains promised in theory. A primary objective of the chair program is to bridge the gap between network information theory and the communication scenarios encountered in the optical domain.

Network information theory permits the consideration of transmission of more than one source, and/or over more than one channel. For many years, theoretical studies in this subject have shown potential for realizing high gains using conventional point-to-point communication techniques. In addition, a network viewpoint allows system designers to guarantee secrecy as well as transmission reliability. However, significant effort is needed to bridge the gap between theory and practice in this emerging field, particularly in its application to optical networks. In addition to complexity (which causes excessive heat in the underground implementations of optical nodes), many other features of optical channels, such as channel memory, phase noise, nature of additive noise, availability of channel state information (CSI) at the transmitters/receivers, etc., need to be better understood and tailored to practice. The proposed research will address several problems related to the practical application of these concepts to the design of the future generation of wireless networks, relying on a cross-layer optimization. This involves problems in multiplexing, co-operative transmission, the fundamental trade-offs in these networks, multi-user diversity, and interference management/alignment.


  • Ciena

Contact information

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario



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