Comparison of Short Blocklength Sphere Shaping and Nonlinearity Compensation in WDM Systems

Abdelkerim Amari (Corresponding author), Lutz Lampe, Sunish Kumar Orappanpara Soman, Yunus Can Gultekin, Alex Alvarado

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In optical communication systems, short blocklength probabilistic enumerative sphere shaping (ESS) provides both linear shaping gain and nonlinear tolerance. In this work, we investigate the performance and complexity of ESS in comparison with fiber nonlinearity compensation via digital back propagation (DBP) with different steps per span. We evaluate the impact of the shaping blocklength in terms of nonlinear tolerance and also consider the case of ESS with a Volterra-based nonlinear equalizer (VNLE), which provides lower complexity than DBP. In single-channel transmission, ESS with VNLE achieves similar performance in terms of finite length bit-metric decoding rate to uniform signaling with one step per span DBP. In the context of a dense wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) transmission system, we show that ESS outperforms uniform signaling with DBP for different step sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9222115
Pages (from-to)1435-1438
Number of pages4
JournalIEEE Photonics Technology Letters
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2020


This work was supported in part by the Natural Sciences and Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and in part by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) via the VIDI Grant ICONIC under Project 15685.

FundersFunder number
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme757791
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
European Research Council
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek15685


    • Digital back propagation
    • enumerative sphere shaping
    • fiber nonlinearity compensation
    • optical communication systems
    • probabilistic shaping
    • Volterra series


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