We describe a successful introduction of maximum-likelihood-sequence estimation (MLSE) into digital coherent receivers together with finite-impulse response (FIR) filters in order to equalize both linear and nonlinear fiber impairments. The MLSE equalizer based on the Viterbi algorithm is implemented in the offline digital signal processing (DSP) core. We transmit 20-Gbit/s quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK) signals through a 200-km-long standard single-mode fiber. The bit-error rate performance shows that the MLSE equalizer outperforms the conventional adaptive FIR filter, especially when nonlinear impairments are predominant.
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