Numerical simulations of the coherent optical orthogonal frequency division multiplexing modems are undertaken to investigate the effect of the adaptive modulation, the number of sub-carriers, the cyclic prefix (CP) length, the clipping ratio, quantisation bit resolution and the sampling speed of analogue-to-digital converters (ADCs) on the chromatic dispersion (CD) of a single mode fibre (SMF) at data rates up to 80 Gbps. The use of a large number of sub-carriers is more effective in combating fibre dispersion than employing a long CP; moreover, the optimum number of sub-carriers in the presence of both SMF non-linearities and CD has been identified. The authors show that using a high bit resolution ADC with a high clipping ratio, the transmission distance can be increased at specific data rates. Furthermore, it is shown that ADCs with a low sampling speed also improve the system tolerance to the fibre CD. In addition, simulation results show that the use of adaptive modulation schemes improves spectrum usage efficiency, thus resulting in higher tolerance to the CD when compared with the case in which identical modulation formats are adopted across all sub-carriers.