This paper presents the first unified wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) transmission model for systems incorporating cascaded optical amplifiers and a realistic demultiplexing (DEMUX) characteristic with periodic transfer function. The bit error ratio (BER) is evaluated accounting in rigorous form for the influence of non-Gaussian detected amplified spontaneous emission (ASE) noise, noise correlation between stochastic noise samples in the receiver, the bandwidth of the electrical receiver noise filter, the gain tilt and effective noise figure of optical amplifiers (with as well as without optical ASE noise filtering), channel crosstalk, signal extinction ratio and a one- or two-stage DEMUX implementation. The model is compared to the Gaussian receiver model in realistic design cases providing important information as to the validity of the Gaussian model. Practical design results indicate the link budget dependence on the DEMUX design and the ASE noise filtering.
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