As the bit rate of optical communication continues to increase, the impairment caused by polarization-mode dispersion is seen as an ultimate limitation to the design of ultra high-speed long-haul lightwave transmission systems. In terms of single-pulse broadening, solitons are more robust to PMD than linear pulses owing to the self-trapping effect between the two polarization components.1–3 In a most recent study, however, it was shown that the performance of soliton systems is worse than linear systems when we evaluate the systems in terms of bit error rate for random pulse sequences.4 This was shown to be because of interaction between solitons and dispersive waves and is only resolved by employing in-line control and/or dispersion-managed solitons (DMS).4 Most of the previous statistical studies relating to soliton robustness to PMD, including, 4 are not concerned with relation between performance and individual fiber realizations charac-terized by the differential group delay (DGD), the second-order PMD (SOPMD), and so on. In this paper we numerically study transmission performance of linear and DMS systems in the presence of PMD and its dependence on individual fiber realizations. We also discuss the effectiveness of PMD compensation for both systems.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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