We propose a coded N-dimensional modulation scheme suitable for ultra-high-speed serial optical transport. The proposed scheme can be considered as a generalization of OFDM, and hence, we call it as generalized OFDM (GOFDM). In this scheme, the orthogonal subcarriers are used as basis functions and the signal constellation points are defined over this N-dimensional linear space. To facilitate implementation, we propose using N-dimensional pulse-amplitude modulation (ND-PAM) as the signal constellation diagram, which is obtained as the N-ary Cartesian product of one-dimensional PAM. In conventional OFDM, QAM/PSK signal constellation points are transmitted over orthogonal subcarriers and then they are multiplexed together in an OFDM stream. Individual subcarriers, therefore, carry N parallel QAM/PSK streams. In the proposed GOFDM scheme instead, an N-dimensional signal constellation point is transmitted over all N subcarriers simultaneously. When some of the subcarriers are severely affected by channel impairments, the constellation points carried by those subcarriers may be lost in the conventional OFDM. In comparison, under such conditions, the overall signal constellation point will face only small distortion in GOFDM and it can be recovered successfully using the information on the other high fidelity subcarriers. Furthermore, because the channel capacity is a logarithmic function of signal-to-noise ratio but a linear function of the number of dimensions, the spectral efficiency of optical transmission systems can be improved with GOFDM.
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