We designed and fabricated a low-crosstalk seven-core fiber with transmission losses of 0.17 dB/km or lower, effective areas larger than 120 μm2, and a total mean crosstalk to the center core of –53 dB after 6.99-km propagation (equivalent to −42.5 dB after 80 km), at 1550 nm. We also investigated the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) achievable in uncoupled multi-core transmission systems by regarding the crosstalk as a virtual additive white Gaussian noise. The SNR under existence of crosstalk in the fabricated multi-core fiber (MCF) was estimated to be 2.4 dB higher than that in a standard single-mode fiber (SSMF) in the case of 80-km span, and 2.9 dB higher in the case of 100-km span; which are the best values among MCFs ever reported, to the best of our knowledge. The SNR penalties from crosstalk in this MCF were calculated to be 0.4 dB for 80-km span and 0.2 dB for 100-km span. We also investigated SNR penalty from crosstalk in the more ordinary case of an MCF with SSMF cores, and found that the total mean crosstalk to the worst core after one 80-km span should be less than about −47 dB for 0.1-dB penalty, about −40 dB for 0.5-dB penalty, and about −36 dB for 1-dB penalty.
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