Abstract

This tutorial paper reviews advanced modulation techniques that have been proposed in the literature for the implementation of flexible (or reconfigurable) transceivers, which are fundamental building blocks of next-generation software-defined optical networks. Using a common reference multi-span propagation system scenario, the performance of transceivers employing standard quadrature amplitude modulation with variable-rate forward error correction, probabilistic constellation-shaping, and time-domain hybrid formats is assessed, highlighting the achievable flexibility in terms of continuous tradeoff between transmission rate and distance. The combination of these techniques with sub-carrier multiplexing, which enables an increase of the fiber nonlinearity tolerance thanks to the optimization of the symbol rate per sub-carrier, is also discussed.

© 2018 IEEE

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