We describe an experimental and numerical comparison of a probabilistically shaped (PS) 4096 QAM signal and a uniformly shaped 1024 QAM signal. Both modulation formats have the same transmission rate and a spectral efficiency of 15.3 bit/s/Hz. In the computational simulation, we compared the generalized mutual information (GMI) of both modulation formats with bit-wise soft decision decoding and bit-wise hard decision decoding. For bit-wise hard decision decoding with an overhead of 7%, a shaping gain of 1.8 dB was attained. Then we successfully transmitted a single-channel PS-4096 QAM signal for the first time in an all-Raman amplified 160-km link, in which the transmission performance was improved compared with a uniformly shaped 1024 QAM with the same transmission rate. Transmissions with a high QAM multiplicity were achieved by using an optical phase-locked loop (OPLL) and a frequency stabilized fiber laser locked to an acetylene absorption line. Thanks to a shaping gain based on a bit-wise hard decision decoder, the 1.9-dB power margin, which agreed with the simulation result to within 0.1 dB, was increased after transmission.
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