Abstract

This paper proposes and investigates the use of multicore fiber (MCF) media performing space-division multiplexed transmission for next-generation optical fronthaul systems. We report the experimental demonstration of combined radio-over-fiber (RoF) transmission of full-standard LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and WiMAX signals providing fronthaul connectivity in 150 m of 4-core fiber (4CF), transmitting simultaneously fully independent wireless services. Operating in linear and nonlinear optical power regimes, the experimental evaluation verifies that the error vector magnitude (EVM) is not degraded when intercore and intracore Kerr nonlinearities are excited in MCF with high input power levels. As a result, nonlinear regime is proposed as a key factor to reduce the temporal EVM fluctuation induced by the random nature of the intercore crosstalk in MCF. In addition, MCF fronthaul applied to converged fiber-wireless polarization multiplexed passive optical networks is demonstrated to transmit LTE-A and WiMAX signals over two orthogonal optical polarizations. The polarization-multiplexed signal is transmitted in RoF over 25.2 km of standard single-mode fiber and then demultiplexed and injected in different cores of the 4CF to provide fronthaul connectivity. Finally, the extension of multicore optical fronthaul capacity is proposed using MIMO LTE-A signals. The tolerance of the MIMO LTE-A RoF transmissions to in-band crosstalk is reported and compared to single-input single-output (SISO) configuration. The experimental results indicate that MIMO configuration is more tolerant than SISO to in-band crosstalk considering both internal and external interferences. MIMO and SISO configurations are compared when transmitted in RoF over a 4CF operating in linear and nonlinear regimes and core interleaving nonlinear stimulation is proposed to reduce the temporal and spectral EVM fluctuation when the same wireless standard is propagated in each core.

© 2016 IEEE

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