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Bit and Power Loading for Coherent Optical OFDM

Qi Yang1, William Shieh2, and Yiran Ma1

Victoria Research Laboratory (NICTA), the University of Melbourne, Melburne, VIC, Australia
Phone: +61383440369, Fax: +61293482873, Email:
(2 ARC Special Research Centre(CUBIN), the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia)

Abstract - We show the first experiment of bit and Experimental setup and measurement
power loading for CO-OFDM. The data rate can be Fig. 1 shows the experimental setup for verifying the
dynamically adjusted according to the channel condition. transmitter with bit and power loading scheme, in direct
The performance can be further improved through up/down conversion architecture [6]. The OFDM signal
loading power optimally. is generated by Matlab program from 215-1 PRBS, and
then loaded onto Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG)
Introduction which produces the analog signals at 10 GS/s. The total
Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) is number of OFDM subcarriers is 128, and guard interval
a special form of multi-carrier modulation in which the is 1/8 of the observation window. Only 89 subcarriers
signal data stream is transmitted over many orthogonal out of 128 are filled, and 12 of them are used for phase
lower bit rate subcarriers. Recently the study of this estimation. The resultant data rate in the uniform loading
modulation format has been extended into optical of 4-QAM-OFDM transmissions is 10.7 Gb/s. The
domain. Among them, coherent optical OFDM (CO- optical I/Q modulator comprised of two MZMs with 900
OFDM) has been proposed and demonstrated to mitigate phase shift, directly up-converts OFDM baseband
the chromatic dispersion and polarization mode signals from RF domain to optical domain. The optical
dispersion [1-2], and recently higher-order modulation OFDM signal is launched into multi-span of fiber link
OFDM, such as 16- and 64-QAM OFDM systems have emulated with a recirculation loop. At the receiver side,
also been reported [3]. One of the distinctive advantages direct optical-to-RF down-conversion is employed. Both
of OFDM over single-carrier counterpart is that the signal and LO are fed into an optical 900 hybrid. Two
system is managed according to the individual subcarrier. balanced receivers are used to detect the I and Q
Once the channel condition of each subcarrier is known, components. The detected RF signals are then sampled
the system performance can be improved through with a Tektronix Time Domain-sampling Scope (TDS)
individually proper manipulation of the every subcarrier. at 20 GS/s, and then processed within a Matlab program
One of the most simple and effective ways, called bit to perform receiver signal processing.
loading, is done by optimally allocating different RF-to-Optical Up-Converter
modulation scheme across all the subcarriers [4]. When
the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of each subcarrier is LD1
monitored through channel estimation, the subcarriers AWG
with high SNR value will be loaded with higher number MZM 900
of bits per subcarrier. As a result, the overall data rate is
maximized. Another commonly used method is power
loading. In such scheme, different frequency tones are Optical-to-RF Down-Converter Link
loaded with an optimal power,which gives a further
improvement on the system performance [5]. I PD1
In this paper, we show the first experiment of CO-
OFDM systems with bit and power loading. In TDS
900 LD2
particular, we show a proportion of the OFDM Q PD3
subcarriers is loaded with 8-QAM from original uniform
4-QAM. The data rate is subsequently increased from PD4

10.7Gb/s to 13.3Gb/s without modifying the channel Fig. 1 Experimental setup for bit and power loading in CO-
bandwidth and launch power. The system performance OFDM systems
can be further improved through optimal power loading
into each modulation band. The bit and power loading The first experiment conducted is 10.7Gb/s CO-
are performed after 1000-km transmission over SSMF OFDM transmission over 1000-km SSFM fiber, with
fiber without optical dispersion compensation. Our work uniform 4-QAM loading. The distribution of the SNR
demonstrates that CO-OFDM may potentially become an across the subcarriers is shown in Fig. 2a. The SNR
attractive choice of modulation format for future values of the middle subcarriers are greater than those at
reconfigurable optical networks. two sides, so we are able to load an additional data into

Authorized licensed use limited to: VELLORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Downloaded on August 2, 2009 at 02:08 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.
the OFDM signal, for instance, another OC-48 traffic Once an additional OC-48 is loaded onto the original
onto original OC-192 one. In order to achieve that, a data rate, the remaining manipulation is power loading,
nominal 50 % of the subcarriers should be loaded with 8- namely, the optimal power partition between 4-QAM
QAM. Fig. 2b shows the OFDM SNR curve with a and 8-QAM subcarriers. To obtain the optimal power
mixture of 4-QAM and 8-QAM loading. Note that we loading, we adjust ratio of the power of 8-QAM
have achieved this by using the same bandwidth and the subcarriers to the overall power, which was kept as a
same of launch power of -3.5 dBm. constant. We characterize the overall system
performance for 1000-km transmission. Fig. 5(a) shows
the BER as the function of the percentage of the power
consumed by 8-QAM subcarriers. The measurement is


done with slight noise loading at the receiver, so that the

minimum BER can be measured. It can be seen that the
optimal power loaded onto 8-QAM is around 50-55 %.
Fig. 5(b) shows the sensitivity comparison between the
Subcarriers Subcarriers optimal power loading of 50 % and the non-optimal
(a) (b) power loading of 70 %. The optimal loading has a 1 dB
Fig. 2 The SNR of OFDM subcarriers for (a) uniform OSNR advantage over the non-optimal loading.
loading, and (b) mixed loading. 1.0E-01

We then measure the sensitivity performance of this

variable bit-loading system, at different percentages of
the OFDM subcarriers loaded with 8-QAM, and the BER
results are shown in Fig. 3. It can be seen that as more 1.0E-03
subcarriers are loaded with higher-order QAM, the
sensitivity degrades. Specifically, when the data rate is 1.0E-04
increased by an additional OC-48, the OSNR penalty is 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
degraded by 2.5 dB at the BER of 10-3. Power Ratio
Power loading
4QAM 1.0E-01
1.0E-02 71%
15% 8QAM
30% 8QAM 1.0E-02 50%
50% 8QAM

1.0E-03 1.0E-03

4 7 10 13 16
1.0E-05 OSNR(dB)
1 4 7 10 13 16 Fig. 5. (a) BER as a function of percentage of the power for
OSNR(dB) 8-QAM, and (b) BER performance at different power loading
Fig. 3 BER performance with varying percentage of the 8- Conclusions
QAM after 1000-km transmission.
We have shown the first experiment of CO-OFDM
Fig. 4 shows the measurement of the OSNR systems with bit and power loading. In particular, one
sensitivity performance for bit-loading of 50 % of 8- additional OC-48 circuit is seamlessly added onto
QAM at reach of 600 km and 1000 km. The OSNR original OC-192 after long haul transmission, without
penalty is respectively about 0.4 dB and 1 dB, compared modifying the channel bandwidth and launch power. The
with back-to-back transmission. system performance is further improved through optimal
1.00E-01 power loading into each modulation band. Our work
shows that CO-OFDM may potentially become an
attractive choice of modulation format for future
reconfigurable optical networks.

1.00E-04 1. W. Shieh, et. al., Elec. Lett., vol. 42, pp. 587-589, 2006.
2. W. Shieh, Photonics Technology Letters, vol. 19, pp. 134-136, 2007.
1.00E-05 3. X. Yi, et. al., ECOC’2007, paper 5.2.3, 2007.
3 6 9 12 15 4. Y. George, et. al., ISIT 2004.Chicago, pp. 391, 2004.
OSNR(dB) 5. B. S., Krongold, et. al., Trans. on Com. 48, 23-27,2000.
6. Y. Tang, et. al., PTL, 19, pp. 483 - 485, 2007.
Fig. 4 BER performance at each of 600 km and 1000 km

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