The Bit-Error-Ratio (BER) floor caused by the laser phase noise in the optical fiber communication system with differential quadrature phase shift keying (DQPSK) and coherent detection followed by digital signal processing (DSP) is analytically evaluated. An in-phase and quadrature (I&Q) receiver with a carrier phase recovery using DSP is considered. The carrier phase recovery is based on a phase estimation of a finite sum (block) of the signal samples raised to the power of four and the phase unwrapping at transitions between blocks. It is demonstrated that errors generated at block transitions cause the dominating contribution to the system BER floor when the impact of the additive noise is negligibly small in comparison with the effect of the laser phase noise. Even the BER floor in the case when the phase unwrapping is omitted is analytically derived and applied to emphasize the crucial importance of this signal processing operation. The analytical results are verified by full Monte Carlo simulations. The BER for another type of DQPSK receiver operation, which is based on differential phase detection, is also obtained in the analytical form using the principle of conditional probability. The principle of conditional probability is justified in the case of differential phase detection due to statistical independency of the laser phase noise induced signal phase error and the additive noise contributions. Based on the achieved analytical results the laser linewidth tolerance is calculated for different system cases.
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