Implications of information theory in optical fibre communications

E. Agrell, A. Alvarado, F.R. Kschischang

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Recent decades have witnessed steady improvements in our ability to harness the information-carrying capability of optical fibres. Will this process continue, or will progress eventually stall? Information theory predicts that all channels have a limited capacity depending on the available transmission resources, and thus it is inevitable that the pace of improvements will slow. However, information theory also provides insights into how transmission resources should, in principle, best be exploited, and thus may serve as a guide for where to look for better ways to squeeze more out of a precious resource. This tutorial paper reviews the basic concepts of information theory and their application in fibre-optic communications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2014.0438
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2062
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2016


  • channel capacity
  • information theory
  • mutual information
  • optical communications
  • Shannon theory

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