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In conventional optical data transmission schemes, electrical filters and/or optical filters are used to improve the quality of system performance. In this paper, improved design of dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) optical systems is achieved by using a selective electrical filter assignment method. The methodology objective is to optimize system design and mitigate the effects of fiber nonlinearities through the use of electrical filters. A feature of this scheme is that it selectively inserts or deletes lowpass filters (LPFs) within the transmission link. Using the selective filter assignment (SFA) process in conjunction with non-return to zero (NRZ) and optical soliton signaling formats, the overall system performance of DWDM networks is shown to be improved.