We experimentally compare the performance of two commercially available vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser diodes (VCSELs), a multi-mode 850-nm and a single-mode 1550-nm, exploiting on–off keying/direct detection (OOK/DD), and orthogonal frequency division multiplexed (OFDM) quadrature phase-shift keying (QPSK)/16-ary quadrature amplitude modulation (16QAM) with direct detection, over SMF (100m and 5km) and MMF (100m and 1km) short-range links, for their potential application in low-cost rack-to-rack optical interconnects. Moreover, we assess the performance of quaternary-pulse amplitude modulation (4-PAM), for the 1550-nm transmitter over SMF and MMF links and we compare it to the data-rate equivalent NRZ-OOK. The extensive performance comparison under various transmission scenarios shows the superiority of 1550-nm single-mode VCSEL compared to its multi-mode 850-nm counterpart. Moreover, OFDM/DD and 4-PAM in conjunction with low-cost, inexpensive VCSELs as transmitters prove to be an enabling technology for next-generation WDM, point-to-point, short-reach, SMF/MMF optical interconnects and potential candidates to substitute NRZ-OOK. Nevertheless, the sensitivity requirements are higher in that case, whereas these advanced, spectrally-efficient modulation formats become severely degraded when transmitted over MMF links, especially, when employing the inexpensive 850-nm VCSELs as transmitter. Finally, we compare the performance of the point-to-point links under investigation to the performance of a semiconductor optical amplifier (SOA)- based, scalable permutation switch fabric, the Optical Shared MemOry Supercomputer Interconnect System (OSMOSIS).
Optical Fiber Technology, 2013, Vol 19, Issue 3, p. 206-212