We present theoretical and experimental performance analysis of 40 Gb/s Non-Return-to-Zero (NRZ) All-Optical Wavelength Conversion (AOWC) using a differentially-biased SOA-MZI. A frequency domain transfer function model for both the standard single-control SOA-MZI-based AOWC and for the differentially-biased SOA-MZI is analytically derived, exploiting first order perturbation theory techniques and showing that only the differentially-biased scheme can yield an almost flat low-pass filtering response enabling wavelength conversion at 40 Gb/s. The theoretically obtained results are also confirmed through experiments that demonstrate successful 40 Gb/s AOWC functionality for NRZ data signals only when a differentially-biased SOA-MZI configuration is employed, whereas an error-floor is obtained when 40 Gb/s NRZ AOWC with the standard single-control SOA-MZI scheme is attempted. The 1.7 dB negative power penalty obtained by the differentially-biased SOA-MZI architecture confirms its enhanced regenerative properties and its potential for extending 40 Gb/s optical transparent network dimensions by means of cascaded 2R AOWC stages.
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