February 15, 2018

Rejuvenating direct modulation and direct detection for modern optical communications

  • Che D.
  • Chen X.
  • Hu Q.
  • Li A.
  • Shieh W.

High-speed transoceanic optical fiber transmission using direct modulation (DM) and direct detection (DD) was one of the most stirring breakthroughs for telecommunication in 1990s, which drove the internet as a global phenomenon. However, the later evolution of optical coherent communications in 2000s gradually took over the long-haul applications, due to its superior optical spectral efficiency. Nowadays, DM-DD systems are dominant mainly in cost-and power-sensitive short-reach applications, because of its natural characteristicsthe simplicity. This paper reviews the recent advances of DM-DD transceivers from both hardware and signal processing perspectives. It introduces a variety of modified DM and/ or DD systems for 3 application scenarios: very-short-reach interconnect with little fiber channel impact; single or a few spans of fiber transmission up to several hundred km; and distance beyond the 2nd scenario. Besides the DM-DD and multi-dimension DM-DD with polarization diversity, this paper focuses on how to rejuvenate traditional DM and DD technologies in order to bridge the transmission application gap between DM-DD and coherent transceivers, using technologies such as dispersion compensation, signal field recovery from the intensity-only DD receiver, and complex direct modulation with coherent detection. More than 30 years since the birth, DM and DD still hold indispensable roles in modern optical communications. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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