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Optical fibre underpins the global communications infrastructure and has experienced an astonishing evolution over the past four decades, with current commercial systems transmitting data rates in excess of 10 Tb/s over a single fibre core. The continuation of this dramatic growth in throughput has become constrained due to a power dependent nonlinear distortion arising from a phenomenon known as the Kerr effect. The mitigation of fibre nonlinearities is an area of intense research. However, even in the absence of nonlinear distortion, the practical limit on the transmission throughput of a single fibre core is dominated by the finite signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) afforded by current state-of-the-art coherent optical transceivers. Therefore, the key to maximising the number of information bits that can be reliably transmitted over a fibre channel hinges on the simultaneous optimisation of the modulation format and code rate, based on the SNR achieved at the receiver. In this work, we use an information theoretic approach based on the mutual information and the generalised mutual information to characterise a state-of-the-art dual polarisation m-ary quadrature amplitude modulation transceiver and subsequently apply this methodology to a 15-carrier super-channel to achieve the highest throughput (1.125 Tb/s) ever recorded using a single coherent receiver.
Maher, R., Alvarado, A., Lavery, D., & Bayvel, P. (2016). Increasing the information rates of optical communications via coded modulation: A study of transceiver performance. Scientific Reports, 6. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep21278