High performance multimode fiber systems: a comprehensive approach
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Steady increases in the bandwidth requirements of access networks and local area networks have created a need for short-reach links supporting data rates of 10 Gb/s and larger. Server applications and data center applications too require such links. The primary challenge for these links lies in the reduction of the cost while retaining or improving the performance. Traditionally, multimode fiber (MMF) has satisfied these needs because of its low installation cost resulting from the alignment tolerance associated with the large core size. However, in view of the ever-increasing performance requirements, extraction of the best performance requires a holistic view of the channel that involves global optimization of transmitter, fiber, receiver performance and signaling strategies. The optimization results in a channel impairment mitigation technique that is a combination of optical, opto-electronic, and electronic methods. Both glass and plastic MMF links have been addressed in this work and many of the advances apply equally to both media. One example that applies strictly to glass MMF is the use of Raman amplification to not only combat attenuation but to reduce intersymbol interference (ISI). Raman amplification was demonstrated as an optical channel impairment mitigation technique enabling multi-km, multi-Gb/s transmission over glass-MMF. We demonstrated both numerically and experimentally that a power penalty reduction of 1.4 dBo can be achieved for 10 Gb/s transmission over 9 km of 62 micron glass MMF with a Raman pump power 250 mW. In recent years, plastic optical fiber (POF) has emerged as a potentially lower cost alternative to glass-MMF in enabling high performance links. The primary objective of this research is to explore the possibilities and develop low-cost, short-reach, high-data-rate POF-links. Using a comprehensive multimode fiber model, we showed that strong mode coupling, together with a reasonably accurate refractive index profile enables 40 Gb/s transmission over 200 m of graded-index POF. We experimentally demonstrated 40 Gb/s error-free transmission over 100 m of graded index perfluorinated POF (GI-PF-POF). We also demonstrated that even larger core (120 micron) GI-PF-POF can support >10 Gb/s over 100 m length. We numerically computed and experimentally measured the differential modal delay of GI-PF-POF to demonstrate that the available bandwidth is nearly independent of the launch conditions. Therefore, the alignment tolerance at the transmitter is increased resulting in a dramatically reduced packaging cost at the transmitter. However, the large-core POF increases the difficultly in capturing of the light efficiently onto a detector and results in optical power penalty and associated modal noise. To solve this, we have designed and developed a 10 Gb/s photoreceiver consisting of a large (100 micron diameter) GaAs PIN photodetector and a regulated cascade input based transimpedance amplifier (TIA) with low input impedance. Thus, a low-cost, alignment-tolerant, high-data-rate link is realized that uses a high-power, high-speed vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) transmitter, large-core, high-speed GI-PF-POF, and the developed receiver.