In this Letter, we have proposed a generalized Gaussian probability density function (GGPDF)-based method to estimate the symbol error ratio (SER) for pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4) in an intensity modulation/direct detection (IM/DD) system. Furthermore, a closed form expression of SERGGD for PAM-4 has been derived. The performance of the proposed method is evaluated through simulation as well as experimental work. The fitting of probability density functions of the received signal is applied via GGPDF and shape parameters P1 and P2 associated with different PAM-4 levels are determined. The optimum single value of shape parameter P is then calculated to estimate the SER. The mathematical relationship of P with different received optical powers and receiver bandwidths has been determined and verified. The proposed method is a fast and accurate method to estimate SER of a PAM-4 system, which is more reliable and in agreement with the error counting method.
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