The ultimate limits introduced by polarization dependent loss (PDL) in coherent polarization multiplexed systems using advanced signal processing are studied. An analytical framework for effectively assessing the penalties is established and applied to systems with and without dynamically optimized launch polarization control. In systems with no launch polarization control, the PDL induced penalty is described by a simple formula and it is independent of the choice of constellation, or modulation format. The gain from optimizing launch polarizations is studied numerically and the mechanisms limiting it are described.
© 2008 Optical Society of America
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