The performance of an -ary pulse position modulated (PPM) optical wireless communication system operating in strong atmospheric turbulence is investigated. Bit error rate (BER) is employed as the measure for the performance. In our overall performance formulation, average received power as measured by a finite-sized avalanche photodiode (APD) detector is used by the help of the extended Huygens–Fresnel principle. For the aperture averaged scintillation evaluations, the asymptotic Rytov theory with the gamma–gamma intensity statistics is utilized. Gamma–gamma statistics together with the large-scale and the small-scale log-intensity variances yield the scintillation index valid both in weak and strong atmospheric turbulence regimes. BER variations versus the plane wave scintillation index are examined at different values of receiver aperture diameters, data bit rates, values of -ary PPM, quantum efficiency, and average APD gain.
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