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Capacity, cutoff rate, and coding for a direct-detection optical channelIt is shown that Pierce's pulse position modulation scheme with 2 to the L pulse positions used on a self-noise-limited direct detection optical communication channel results in a 2 to the L-ary erasure channel that is equivalent to the parallel combination of L completely correlated binary erasure channels. The capacity of the full channel is the sum of the capacities of the component channels, but the cutoff rate of the full channel is shown to be much smaller than the sum of the cutoff rates. An interpretation of the cutoff rate is given that suggests a complexity advantage in coding separately on the component channels. It is shown that if short-constraint-length convolutional codes with Viterbi decoders are used on the component channels, then the performance and complexity compare favorably with the Reed-Solomon coding system proposed by McEliece for the full channel. The reasons for this unexpectedly fine performance by the convolutional code system are explored in detail, as are various facets of the channel structure.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Massey, J. L. (Swiss Federal Technical Univ. Zurich, United States)
Date Acquired
August 11, 2013
Publication Date
December 15, 1980
Publication Information
Publication: The Telecommun. and Data Acquisition
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19810004699Analytic PrimaryThe telecommunications and data acquisition