Advanced modulation schemes for short-range optical communications

Sebastian Randel, Florian Breyer, Sian C.J. Lee, Joachim W. Walewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

183 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of advanced modulation schemes for spectrally efficient data transmission is reviewed, targeting short-range intensity-modulated optical channels with direct detection. Hereby, the focus lies on the performance of multilevel pulse-amplitude modulation combined with electronic equalization and, as an alternative modulation scheme, discrete multitone. A comprehensive statistical analysis of clipping noise is presented and exact expressions for the performance of symmetrically clipped discrete multitone are derived. It is shown that the clipping noise is impulsive and obeys a generalized Laplace distribution. The bit-error probability due to clipping is studied in detail, and it is found that the impact of clipping noise is reduced for an increasing number of subchannels. Finally, the optical link margins of multilevel pulse-amplitude modulation in combination with electronic equalization and that of discrete multitone in combination with margin-adaptive bit loading are compared. It is found that even symmetrically clipped discrete multitone suffers from its large crest factor in the peak-power-limited channel and that, in many instances, pulse-amplitude modulation provides higher link margins for the same target bit-error probability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5437277
Pages (from-to)1280-1289
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Adaptive modulation
  • digital modulation
  • optical communications


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