A Soft-Aided Staircase Decoder Using Three-Level Channel Reliabilities

Yi Lei, Bin Chen (Corresponding author), Gabriele Liga, Alexios Balatsoukas-Stimming, Kaixuan Sun, Alex Alvarado

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The soft-aided bit-marking (SABM) algorithm is based on the idea of marking bits as highly reliable bits (HRBs), highly unreliable bits (HUBs), and uncertain bits to improve the performance of hard-decision (HD) decoders. The HRBs and HUBs are used to assist the HD decoder to prevent miscorrections and to decode those originally uncorrectable cases via bit flipping (BF), respectively. In this paper, an improved SABM algorithm (called iSABM) is proposed for staircase codes (SCCs). Similar to the SABM, iSABM marks bits with the help of channel reliabilities, i.e., using the absolute values of the log-likelihood ratios. The improvements offered by iSABM include: (i) HUBs being classified using a reliability threshold, (ii) BF randomly selecting HUBs, and (iii) soft-aided decoding over multiple SCC blocks. The decoding complexity of iSABM is comparable of that of SABM. This is due to the fact that on the one hand no sorting is required (lower complexity) because of the use of a threshold for HUBs, while on the other hand multiple SCC blocks use soft information (higher complexity). The gains achieved by iSABM are up to 0.53 dB with respect to SABM and up to 0.91 dB with respect to standard decoding of SCCs at a bit error rate of 10{-6}. Furthermore, it is shown that using 1-bit reliability marking, i.e., only having HRBs and HUBs, only causes a gain penalty of up to 0.25 dB with a significantly reduced memory requirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6191-6203
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


FundersFunder number
Marie Skłodowska‐Curie
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme754462
European Research Council
National Natural Science Foundation of China62001151
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek15685
Natural Science Foundation of Anhui Province2008085QF282
Horizon 2020757791
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central UniversitiesJZ2020HGTB0015, JZ2020HGTA0072


    • Complexity theory
    • Decoding
    • Forward error correction
    • Gain
    • Iterative decoding
    • Log-likelihood ratios
    • Optical fiber communications
    • Quantization
    • Quantization (signal)
    • Reliability
    • Staircase codes
    • Standards
    • staircase codes
    • forward error correction
    • log-likelihood ratios
    • quantization


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