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Three modulation formats are compared by numerical simulation of highly dense (75-GHz-spaced for 40 Gb/s channel), long-haul (600-1800 km) wavelength division multiplexed systems with three fiber types. Nonreturn-to-zero (NRZ) format, being the most spectrally compact and the simplest in transmitter and receiver configuration of the three, seems to be capable enough at shorter transmission distances than 1000 km regardless of fiber type. Carrier-suppressed return-to-zero (RZ) format, being the most tolerant to the self-phase modulation effect, showed better performance with fibers having larger chromatic dispersion. However, its transmission distance with low dispersion fibers is severely limited by the four-wave mixing effect. Bit-synchronous intensity modulated differential phase shift keying (IM-DPSK) format seems to be the best choice for a transmission distance beyond 1000 km because of its superior tolerance to optical noise and fiber nonlinear effects regardless of fiber types, despite slightly more complex transmitter and receiver configurations.