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As 100-Gb/s coherent systems based on polarization- division multiplexed quadrature phase shift keying (PDM-QPSK), with aggregate wavelength-division multiplexed (WDM) capacities close to 10 Tb/s, are getting widely deployed, the use of high-spectral-efficiency quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) to increase both per-channel interface rates and aggregate WDM capacities is the next evolutionary step. In this paper we review high-spectral-efficiency optical modulation formats for use in digital coherent systems. We look at fundamental as well as at technological scaling trends and highlight important trade-offs pertaining to the design and performance of coherent higher-order QAM transponders.
Date of Publication: Dec.15, 2012