Hard-Decision Coded Modulation for High-Throughput Short-Reach Optical Interconnect

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Coded modulation (CM), a combination of forward error correction (FEC) and high order modulation formats, has become a key part of modern optical communication systems. Designing CM schemes with strict complexity requirements for optical communications (e.g., data center interconnects) is still challenging mainly because of the expected low latency, low overhead, and the stringent high data rate requirements. In this paper, we propose a CM scheme with bit-wise hard-decision FEC and geometric shaping. In particular, we propose to combine the recently introduced soft-aided bit-marking decoding algorithm for staircase codes (SCCs) with geometrically-shaped constellations. The main goal of this CM scheme is to jointly boost the coding gain and provide shaping gain, while keeping the complexity low. When compared to existing CM systems based on M-ary quadrature-amplitude modulation (MQAM, M=64,128,256 ) and conventional decoding of SCCs, the proposed scheme shows improvements of up to 0.83 dB at a bit-error rate of 10−6 in the additive white Gaussian noise channel. For a nonlinear optical fiber system, simulation results show up to 24% reach increase. In addition, the proposed CM scheme enables rate adaptivity in single-wavelength systems, offering six different data rates between 450 Gbit/s and 666 Gbit/s.
Original languageEnglish
Article number400
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Coded modulation
  • Error correcting codes
  • Geometric shaping
  • Hard decision decoding
  • Optical fiber communications
  • Staircase codes


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