Optimization of flexible non-uniform multilevel PAM for maximizing the aggregated capacity in PON deployments

Robbert van der Linden, Nguyen Cac Tran, Eduward Tangdiongga, A.M.J. Koonen

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20 Citations (Scopus)
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Non-uniform pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) utilizes unequal distances between its modulation levels. In a multilevel PAM symbol, multiple bits are encoded. Due to the unequal level spacing, some bits can be decoded successfully at a lower received optical power than others. This is well suited for practical passive optical network (PON) deployments wherein the optical powers received by the different optical network units (ONUs) typically vary over a broad range. Thus, more ONUs in the PON can successfully decode non-uniform PAM-4 and PAM-8 than standard PAM-4/8, thereby increasing the aggregated capacity of the network. In systems where signal-dependent noise makes up a significant part of the total received noise level, the non-uniform PAM constellation can be adapted to take this signal-dependent variance into account. In doing so, a lower unequal level spacing can be used, decreasing the received optical power required to successfully decode all the bits in the PAM symbol. The impact of non-uniform PAM on the network throughput is presented by comparison of the experimental results with the actual loss distribution of a commercially deployed PON.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2328-2336
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Lightwave Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2018


  • Flexible modulation
  • Hierarchical modulation
  • Network optimization
  • Passive optical networks
  • Pulse amplitude modulation


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