The Optical Networking and Communication
Conference & Exhibition

San Diego Convention Center,
San Diego, California, USA

Optical Experiments and Testing: FEC-ON or FEC-OFF?

Organizer: Alex Alvarado, Eindhoven Univ. of Technology, Netherlands; Yi Cai, ZTE USA Inc., USA

Description: Forward error correction (FEC) is a key element in modern fiber optical communications. Yet, FEC is not included in many optical experiments. FEC implementation is typically avoided by using FEC thresholds. These thresholds allow researchers to make claims on post-FEC BER without actually implementing or testing the FEC. Strictly speaking, however, post-FEC BER can only be claimed if it is measured using an actual implementation.

We have heard voices from both sides. One group says: “FEC-OFF! Thresholds are enough to predict post-FEC BER.” The other group says: “FEC-ON! You must always implement FEC”. In fact, there is not even consensus within the FEC-OFF group. Some believe pre-FEC BER is the right threshold, while others say that the (generalized) mutual information is the correct metric.

In this panel, we gather together experts from different groups to have a head-to-head discussion on the pros and cons of implementing FEC as well as other advanced coding schemes in optical transmission experiments. The workshops aims at answering the following questions: Can we safely avoid implementing FEC in optical transmission experiments? And if so, what metric should we measure? This workshop will also address other more general questions about FEC. For example, how much more coding gain can we achieve in next generation FEC and at what cost? What are the best technologies for next generation FEC? Should we be considering standardized FEC to enable interoperability in long-haul transmission?

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