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This paper reviews the application of the Volterra series expansion to fiber-optic communication systems and performance evaluation of dispersion maps. It is shown that under certain conditions periodically dispersion-managed multispan systems can be approximated by simple single-span systems with dispersion precompensation. This single-span approximation can help us to identify equivalent system configurations and estimate optimum system parameters. To set an example, the single-span model is employed to analyze transmission systems based on the return-to-zero on-off-keying modulation format and direct detection.