Capacity estimates for optical transmission based on the nonlinear Fourier transform

Stanislav A. Derevyanko*, Jaroslaw E. Prilepsky, Sergei K. Turitsyn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


What is the maximum rate at which information can be transmitted error-free in fibre-optic communication systems? For linear channels, this was established in classic works of Nyquist and Shannon. However, despite the immense practical importance of fibre-optic communications providing for >99% of global data traffic, the channel capacity of optical links remains unknown due to the complexity introduced by fibre nonlinearity. Recently, there has been a flurry of studies examining an expected cap that nonlinearity puts on the information-carrying capacity of fibre-optic systems. Mastering the nonlinear channels requires paradigm shift from current modulation, coding and transmission techniques originally developed for linear communication systems. Here we demonstrate that using the integrability of the master model and the nonlinear Fourier transform, the lower bound on the capacity per symbol can be estimated as 10.7 bits per symbol with 500 GHz bandwidth over 2,000 km.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12710
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2016

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2016. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain per mission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit

Data used to generate Figs2 and 3 in this study are available in ‘Aston Research Explorer’ portal with the identifier Additional data (including those used in the Supplementary Information) are available from the corresponding author on request.


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