Digital back-propagation (DBP) has recently been proposed for the comprehensive compensation of channel nonlinearities in optical communication systems. While DBP is attractive for its flexibility and performance, it poses significant challenges in terms of computational complexity. Alternatively, phase conjugation or spectral inversion has previously been employed to mitigate nonlinear fibre impairments. Though spectral inversion is relatively straightforward to implement in optical or electrical domain, it requires precise positioning and symmetrised link power profile in order to avail the full benefit. In this paper, we directly compare ideal and low-precision single-channel DBP with single-channel spectral-inversion both with and without symmetry correction via dispersive chirping. We demonstrate that for all the dispersion maps studied, spectral inversion approaches the performance of ideal DBP with 40 steps per span and exceeds the performance of electronic dispersion compensation by ~3.5 dB in Q-factor, enabling up to 96% reduction in complexity in terms of required DBP stages, relative to low precision one step per span based DBP. For maps where quasi-phase matching is a significant issue, spectral inversion significantly outperforms ideal DBP by ~3 dB.
Bibliographical note© 2011 OSA
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