Electronic Equalization of High-Speed Multi-mode Fiber Links
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The objective of this research is to investigate low-complexity, efficient electronic equalizers to increase the data rate and possibly extend the reach of multi-mode fiber (MMF) links. Specifically, we begin by baselining the performance limits of conventional receivers. A robust, in-house mode solver was developed as part of this research and is currently being used by one of the largest fiber manufacturers in their internal R &D work. A detailed performance assessment of the impact of decision feedback equalizers has been conducted using an extensive model of the installed fiber base. The finite-length DFE results were instrumental in influencing the IEEE 802.3aq standardization effort. In particular, we were able to achieve a reach of 220m but the original goal of 300m was unattainable on 99% of the installed fiber base using DFEs of moderate complexity. A low-cost equalizer that has excellent performance, the bi-directional DFE, was applied to the MMF channel for the first time. The performance of the infinite-length BiDFE was characterized without any constraints on the signal-to-noise ratio and on the receiver front-end, as has been previously done in the literature. A new joint optimization technique that helps the finite-length BiDFE perform significantly better than the infinite-length DFE was developed. It was shown that given a finite number of filter coefficients, the BiDFE utilizes them better than the conventional DFE. Furthermore, a reach of 350-400m at a data rate of 10 Gbps was shown to be feasible with equalizers of complexity similar to that currently available. A multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) characterization of the MMF channel was developed through the simultaneous use of both center and offset launch together with the two-segment photo-detector. The potential benefit of MIMO processing for MMF links was demonstrated by computing Shannon capacity bounds. It was established that the 2x2 MIMO channel performs about 1.4 dBo better than the conventional 1x1 link at 10 Gbps with practical joint launch. The MIMO scheme still has a performance improvement of 1dBo at 20 Gbps thereby indicating that 20 Gbps transmission is feasible. Performance evaluation of multi-km MMF links was conducted using a comprehensive model that accounts for mode coupling effects. It was determined that ignoring mode coupling can result in under-estimation of the optimum DFE penalty by as much as 1~dBo for 1km links.