Few-mode fibers (FMFs) are used for the first time to transmit over 5000 km. Ten WDM channels with 50GHz channel spacing at 112 Gb/s per channel using PDM-QPSK are launched into the fundamental mode of the FMFs by splicing single-mode fibers directly to the FMFs. Even though few-mode fibers can support an additional spatial mode LP11 at 1550 nm, the signal remains in the fundamental mode and does not experience mode coupling throughout fiber transmission. After each span the signal is collected by a second single-mode fiber which is also spliced to the FMF. Span loss is compensated by single-mode EDFAs before it is launched to the next FMF span. The lack of mode coupling ensures that the signal does not suffer any impairments that may result from differential mode delay or excess loss. Therefore the FMFs used in this “single-mode operation” have the same bandwidth as single-mode fibers. Experimental results verified that FMFs have the significant advantage of large core size which reduces the nonlinear impairments suffered by the signal. It is shown that FMFs with an effective area of 130 μm2, have an optimum launch power 2 dB higher compared to standard single-mode fibers and as a result a 1.1 dB improvement in the Q-factor is obtained after 3000 km.
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