Theoretical investigations have been carried out to analyze and compare the link power budget and power dissipation of non-return-to-zero (NRZ), pulse amplitude modulation-4 (PAM-4), carrierless amplitude and phase modulation-16 (CAP-16) and 16-quadrature amplitude modulation-orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (16-QAM-OFDM) systems for data center interconnect scenarios. It is shown that for multimode fiber (MMF) links, NRZ modulation schemes with electronic equalization offer the best link power budget margins with the least power dissipation for short transmission distances up to 200 m; while OOFDM is the only scheme which can support a distance of 300 m albeit with power dissipation as high as 4 times that of NRZ. For short single mode fiber (SMF) links, all the modulation schemes offer similar link power budget margins for fiber lengths up to 15 km, but NRZ and PAM-4 are preferable due to their system simplicity and low power consumption. For lengths of up to 30 km, CAP-16 and OOFDM are required although the schemes consume 2 and 4 times as much power respectively compared to that of NRZ. OOFDM alone allows link operation up to 35 km distances.
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