Two high-PMD long distance routes were characterized and used to test an optical polarization mode dispersion compensator (PMDC) under field conditions. For this trial, 110 km routes with mean PMD values of 25 and 26.5 ps were provisioned with commercial WDM transport equipment and tested for several weeks. The route was comprised of three spans of characterized fiber that followed railroad tracks. We show the temporal variation of the output polarization state and the evolution of first- and second-order PMD spectra over 7 days. The deployment of a variable-length PMDC on these links allowed error-free transmission of an OC-192 signal. Splitting the output to receivers with and without PMDC demonstrated specific PMD events that caused errors in the absence of a PMDC.
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