Driven by high growth rates of internet traffic the question of upgrading existing optical metro-, regio- and long haul transport networks introducing 40 Gbit/s/λ is one of the most important questions today and in the near future. Current WDM Systems in photonic networks are commonly operated at linerates of 2.5 and 10 Gbit/s/λ. Induced by market analyses and the historical development of transport systems some work has already been carried out to evaluate update scenarios from 10 to 40 Gbit/s channel data rates. Due to the inherent quadruplication of the bandwidth per channel, limitations due to linear and non-linear transmission impairments become stronger resulting in a highly increased complexity of link engineering, potentially increasing the capital and operational expenditures. A lot of work is therefore in progress, which targets at the relaxation of constraints for 40 Gbit/s transmission to find the most efficient upgrade strategies. One approach towards an increased robustness against signal distortions is the introduction of more advanced modulation formats. Different modulation schemes show strongly different optical WDM transmission characteristics. The choice of the appropriate format does not only depend on the technical requirements, but also on economical considerations as an increased transmitter- and receiver-complexity will drive the transponder price.
This article presents investigations on different modulation formats for the upgrade of existing metro-/ regio and long haul transport networks. Tolerances and robustness against the main degrading effects dispersion, noise and nonlinearities are considered together with mitigation strategies like the adaptation of dispersion maps. Results from numerical simulations are provided for some of the most promising modulation formats like NRZ, RZ, CS-RZ, Optical Duobinary and DPSK.