Previous publications have addressed the impact of bursty, self-similar traffic on erbium-doped fibre amplifiers (EDFA). Several gain control techniques have been suggested to combat the gain fluctuations of EDFA with this type of traffic. The effectiveness of two such methods are investigated namely highly inverted amplifiers and all-optical gain clamping, while varying the parameters characterising the burstiness of the sources. While previous publications have focused on the effect of the average load or activity factor, the paper further investigate the dependence on the relative variability of the packet burst lengths (ON times), and lengths of the interburst idle times (OFF times). Both gain control methods reduce the output power and signalto- noise ratio excursions with respect to a standard amplifier chain. The authors find that, for an eight channel WDM system and a cascade of six EDFAs, all-optical gain clamping can reduce the variations by a factor of five, provided adequate power is present in the clamping laser, while highly inverted amplifiers have variations reduced by a factor of two. The authors find that, in a clamped chain, the source activity factor does not uniquely determine the required level of lasing power. The authors also deduce that information on the relative variability of ON and OFF times is essential.
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