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Forward-error correction (FEC) coding is theoretically investigated to improve bit-error-rate (BER) performance in a 10-Gb/s optical transmission system using randomly irregular low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes, regular LDPC codes, and the Reed-Solomon (RS) (255,239) code as a comparison. The irregular LDPC codes has different row-weight variances of a parity-check matrix from 10.9 to 18.8 and a row-weight mean of 60. Simulation is carried out under various conditions including the impairment factors such as dispersion, polarization-mode dispersion (PMD), and fiber nonlinearities. Results suggest that the irregular LDPC code with a low row-weight variance (=10.9) generally has better performance for the most impairment factors except for the factor of dispersion. On the other hand, for the factor of dispersion the irregular LDPC code performs better with a high row-weight variance (=18.8). A specific LDPC code can overcome the impairment limits in a deployed link.