We present a simultaneous optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) and differential group delay (DGD) monitoring method based on degree of polarization (DOP) measurements in optical communications systems. For the first time in the literature (to our best knowledge), the proposed scheme is demonstrated to be able to independently and simultaneously extract OSNR and DGD values from the DOP measurements. This is possible because the OSNR is related to maximum DOP, while DGD is related to the ratio between the maximum and minimum values of DOP. We experimentally measured OSNR and DGD in the ranges from 10 to 30 dB and 0 to 90 ps for a non-return-to-zero signal. A theoretical analysis of DOP accuracy needed to measure low values of DGD and high OSNRs is carried out, showing that current polarimeter technology is capable of yielding an OSNR measurement within 1 dB accuracy, for OSNR values up to 34 dB, while DGD error is limited to 1.5% for DGD values above 10 ps. For the first time to our knowledge, the technique was demonstrated to accurately measure first-order polarization mode dispersion (PMD) in the presence of a high value of second-order PMD (as high as ).
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