The performance of reflective electro-absorption modulator (R-EAM) based optical source has been evaluated for the use in high-capacity wavelength-division multiplexed passive optical networks (WDM-PONs). In our measurements, a broadband light source (BLS) was used as a seeding source for the cost-effective implementation of R-EAM based optical source. At first, a bit-error rate (BER) floor at 10−6 was observed even in a back-to-back configuration with the BLS seeded R-EAM source. This is mainly because of the excess intensity noise (EIN) within BLS and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) degradation induced by a high insertion loss of R-EAM. To mitigate both effects of EIN and SNR degradation, a reflective semiconductor optical amplifier (RSOA) was also used for the implementation of our BLS seeded R-EAM source. Then, we have evaluated the impact of various noises, such as EIN, chromatic dispersion of transmission fiber and in-band crosstalk, on the system’s performance using our BLS seeded R-EAM optical source. From the results, we have found that a 3-dB bandwidth of the BLS seeded R-EAM optical source should be wider than ~0.8 nm to achieve an error-free transmission of 1.25 Gb/s signal. We have also confirmed that there was a trade-off between the dispersion- and the in-band crosstalk-induced penalties due to the wide source bandwidth of our BLS seeded R-EAM source, like the cases of BLS seeded RSOA and Fabry-Perot laser diode (FP-LD) sources.
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