We have demonstrated variable dispersion compensation by using a virtually imaged phased array (VIPA) to overcome the small dispersion tolerance in 40-Gb/s dense wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) transmission systems. By utilizing the periodical characteristics of VIPA compensators, we performed simultaneous dispersion compensation in a 1.28-Tb/s (40-Gb/s × 32 ch; C band) short-haul transmission and confirmed that only two VIPA compensators and one fixed dispersion-compensating fiber are required for a large transmission range of 80 km. This performance can greatly reduce the cost, size, and number of compensator menus in a 40-Gb/s WDM short-haul transmission system. In addition, we achieved 3.5-Tb/s (43-Gb/s × 88 ch; C and L bands) transmission over a 600-km nonzero dispersion-shifted fiber by using VIPA compensators. Although channel-by-channel dispersion compensation is required due to the larger residual dispersion slope in long-haul transmission,the periodical characteristics of the VIPA compensators offer the advantage of considerably reducing the number of different modules required to cover the whole C (or L) band. An adequate optical signal-to-noise ratio, which was the same for all channels, was obtained by using distributed Raman amplification, a gain equalizer,and a preemphasis technique. We achieved a Q-factor of more than 11.8 dB (BER < 10-17 with forward-error correction) for all 88 channels.
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