Introducing enumerative sphere shaping for optical communication systems with short blocklengths

Abdelkerim Amari (Corresponding author), Sebastiaan Goossens, Yunus Can Gültekin, Olga Vassilieva, Inwoong Kim, Tadashi Ikeuchi, Chigo M. Okonkwo, Frans M.J. Willems, Alex Alvarado

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Probabilistic shaping based on constant composition distribution matching (CCDM) has received considerable attention as a way to increase the capacity of fiber optical communication systems. CCDM suffers from significant rate loss at short blocklengths and requires long blocklengths to achieve high shaping gain, which makes its implementation very challenging. In this paper, we propose to use enumerative sphere shaping (ESS) and investigate its performance for the nonlinear fiber optical channel. ESS has lower rate loss than CCDM at the same shaping rate, which makes it a suitable candidate to be implemented in real-time high-speed optical systems. In this paper, we first show that finite blocklength ESS and CCDM exhibit higher effective signal-to-noise ratio than their infinite blocklength counterparts. These results show that for the nonlinear fiber optical channel, large blocklengths should be avoided. We then show that for a 400 Gb/s dual-polarization 64-QAM WDM transmission system, ESS with short blocklengths outperforms both uniform signaling and CCDM. Gains in terms of both bit-metric decoding rate and bit-error rate are presented. ESS with a blocklength of 200 is shown to provide an extension reach of about 200 km in comparison with CCDM with the same blocklength. The obtained reach increase of ESS with a blocklength of 200 over uniform signaling is approximately 450 km (approximately 19%).

Original languageEnglish
Article number8850066
Pages (from-to)5926-5936
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Constant composition distribution matching
  • enumerative sphere shaping
  • fiber nonlinearity
  • optical communication systems
  • probabilistic shaping


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