Abstract

The concept and significance of the so called nonlinear Shannon limit are reviewed and their relation to the channel capacity is analyzed from an information theory point of view. It is shown that this is a limit (if at all) holding only for conventional detection strategies. Indeed, it should only be considered as a limit to the information rate that can be achieved with a given modulation/detection scheme. By virtue of some simple examples and theoretical results, it is also shown that, using the same approximated models commonly adopted for deriving the nonlinear Shannon limit, the information rate can be arbitrarily increased by increasing the input power. To this aim, the validity of some popular approximations to the output distribution is also examined to show that their application outside the scope for which they were devised can lead to pitfalls. To the best of our belief, the existence of a true nonlinear Shannon limit has still not been demonstrated, and the problem of determining the channel capacity of a fiber-optic system in the presence of Kerr nonlinearities is still an open issue.

© 2016 IEEE

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