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Photonics 2018, 5(4), 49;

Optical Multilevel Pulse Width Modulation for Analog Mobile Fronthaul

Politecnico di Milano, Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione e Bioingegneria (DEIB), Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 20 November 2018 / Published: 23 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lightwave Communications and Optical Networks)
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The evolution of radio access networks is towards a centralized architecture (C-RAN), with massive antenna deployments and large radio-frequency bandwidths. In the next future, traditional optical transport technologies based on digital radio over fiber will no longer be able to support the mobile fronthaul traffic connecting antennas hosted at remote radio units and centralized baseband units. Analog radio over fiber can be selected to support the mobile fronthaul (MFH) network and, in particular, pulse width modulation (PWM) is a viable alternative for analog signal transport. In order to increase the MFH spectral efficiency, we propose to exploit multilevel PWM (M-PWM) in a wavelength division multiplexing-passive optical network (WDM-PON) network, comparing its performance with a conventional 2-level PWM solution. Experimental results show successful transmission over 7.5-km standard single mode fiber (SSMF) of up to 16 aggregated LTE-like 20-MHz signals with 64-QAM on each subcarrier, while up to eight aggregated LTE-like 20-MHz signals with 256-QAM could be supported. M-PWM thus allows either using higher order modulation formats or aggregating a higher number of LTE channels. View Full-Text
Keywords: C-RAN; pulse width modulation; multilevel pulse width modulation; analog fronthauling; WDM-PON C-RAN; pulse width modulation; multilevel pulse width modulation; analog fronthauling; WDM-PON

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Combi, L.; Gatto, A.; Boffi, P.; Spagnolini, U.; Parolari, P. Optical Multilevel Pulse Width Modulation for Analog Mobile Fronthaul. Photonics 2018, 5, 49.

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