We present experimentally and analytically the phase noise characterization of an externally injected gain switched comb source. The results reveal the residual high frequency FM noise in the comb lines, which stays unnoticed in the optical linewidth value but leads to an increased phase-error variance. The potential impact of the residual phase noise is investigated in a 10.7 GBaud optical DQPSK system where a 2 dB power penalty is recorded at BER of 10−9. In a 10.7 GBaud digital coherent QPSK system no penalty is observed but with 5 GBaud 16-QAM format a 3 dBpenalty exists at the FEC limit of 4.4e-3.
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