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5G-Compatible IF-Over-Fiber Transmission Using a Low-Cost SFP-Class Transceiver

Fernandes, M. ; Brandão, B. ; Lorences-Riesgo, A. ; Monteiro, P. ; Guiomar, F. P.

IEEE Access Vol. 10, Nº 0, pp. 24601 - 24610, February, 2022.

ISSN (print): 2169-3536
ISSN (online):

Scimago Journal Ranking: 0,59 (in 2020)

Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ACCESS.2022.3154784

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With the rise of 5G and beyond, the ever-increasing data-rates demanded by mobile access are severely challenging the capacity of optical fronthaul networks. Despite its high reliability and ease of deployment, legacy digital radio-over-fiber (RoF) technologies face an upcoming bandwidth bottleneck in the short term. This has motivated a renewed interest in the development of analog RoF alternatives, owing to their high spectral efficiency. However, unlike its digital counterpart, analog RoF transmission requires a highly linear transceiver to guarantee signal fidelity. Typical solutions exploited in recent research works tend to adopt the use of bulky benchtop components, such as directly modulated lasers (DML) and photodiodes. Although this provides a convenient and quick path for proof-of-concept demonstrations, there is still a considerable gap between lab developments and commercial deployment. Most importantly, a key question arises: can analog-RoF transceivers meet the 5G requirements while being competitive in terms of cost and footprint? Following this challenge, in this work we exploit the use of a low-cost commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver, originally designed for digital transmission at 1 Gbps, which is properly adapted towards analog RoF transmission. Bypassing the digital electronics circuitry of the SFP, while keeping the original transmitter optical sub-assembly (TOSA) and receiver optical sub-assembly (ROSA), we demonstrate that high-performance 5G-compatible transmission can be performed by reusing the key built-in components of current low-cost SFP-class transceivers. Particularly, we demonstrate error vector magnitude (EVM) performances compatible with 5G 64QAM transmission both at 100MHz and 400MHz. Furthermore, employing a memory polynomial model for digital pre-distortion of the transmitted signal, we achieve 256QAM-compatible performance at 100MHz bandwidth, after 20 km fronthaul transmission.