• Technical Conference:  05 – 09 March 2023
  • Exhibition: 07 – 09 March 2023
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

SC468 - VIRTUAL: Advanced FEC Techniques for Optical Communications

Monday, 07 March
08:30 - 12:30 (Pacific Time (US & Canada), UTC - 08:00)

Short Course Level: Advanced Beginner


Laurent Schmalen, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany

Short Course Materials

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Access to Short Course Materials

Access to the short course materials, including the link to join the event on zoom will be available 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start and up to 60 minutes after the scheduled end.

Short Course Description:

*This course is virtual only*

This course is intended for engineers and students who have a background in the basic concepts in forward error correction techniques (e.g., by completing course SC390) but would like to dive deeper into the modern concepts and technologies that are employed in today’s high-speed optical communication systems. The course is intended to give participants insights on the selection of FEC schemes for different applications, the design of LDPC-based schemes, which form one of the most popular coding schemes in optical communications these days. The course ends with a discussion and new emerging FEC schemes like spatially coupled codes and polar codes. Some of the topics covered in the course are:

  1. Recapitulation of basic concepts of forward error correction (FEC)
  2. Hard-decision decoding versus soft-decision decoding
    1. Basic concepts, potential gains and possible limitations
    2. Guidelines for decoding method selection depending on application
  3. In-depth treatment of low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes
    1. Introduction to LDPC codes
    2. Common designs of parity-check matrices, e.g., Quasi-Cyclic (QC) codes
    3. Decoding LDPC codes – algorithms for soft-decision and hard-decision decoding
    4. Decoding LDPC codes – hardware implementation aspects
    5. Encoding of LDPC codes
    6. Simulation of LDPC codes on FPGAs for error floor analysis
    7. Parallel decoder implementation and control
  4. Discussion of new, emerging FEC schemes
    1. Spatially coupled codes
    2. Polar codes
    3. Early thoughts about application in optical communications
Short Course Benefits:

The course should enable participants to

  • Identify key applications and approaches of modern FEC schemes in optical communications
  • Determine whether hard-decision or soft-decision decoding should be used in a high-speed application
  • Describe the key features of low-density parity-check (LDPC) codes and the reasons for their almost ubiquitous use in today’s communication systems
  • Design own LDPC codes together with their encoding and decoding algorithms that are tailored to the respective application
  • Compare different decoder variations with respect to their implementation in hardware
  • Test the performance of the own designed codes by means of simulations and discuss the use of FPGAs and GPUs as simulation utilities for performing low error-rate Monte-Carlo simulations
  • Summarize key aspects and limitations of emerging coding schemes like spatially coupled codes and polar codes
Short Course Audience:

The course is intended for the students and engineers who have a background and possibly experience in forward error correction (FEC) algorithms but are beginners to modern FEC schemes like LDPC codes, spatially coupled codes and polar codes. The course is intended to give insights to participants on modern FEC schemes by going though material that will highlight the theoretical foundations of these schemes but also describe how encoding and decoding circuits can be built, allowing the participants to build their own FEC schemes. A part of the course will be devoted to new and emerging coding schemes that may have a potential application in optical communications.


Instructor Biography:

Laurent Schmalen is a full professor at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe, Germany, where he heads the Communications Engineering Lab (CEL). From 2011 to 2019, he was a member of technical staff and department head at Nokia Bell Labs in Stuttgart, Germany. He joined Bell Labs after receiving his Ph.D. from RWTH Aachen University in Aachen, Germany. His research topics include forward error correction algorithms and digital coded modulation schemes for high-speed optical communications. He received multiple awards for his research work, including the 2016 Journal of Lightwave Technology Best Paper Award, has more than 120 publications in journal and conference papers, has co-authored 4 book chapters and holds several patents.