For the next generation of the optical internet, focus is now moving from circuit switched networks, which occupy a wavelength continuously regardless of the demand at that time, towards optical packet/burst switching. By only occupying a wavelength when data is to be transmitted, a more efficient utilization of bandwidth in optical fibers is strived for. As bandwidth in fibers keeps increasing, the bottleneck of the optical network is now moving towards the switching node, since evolution of electronic routers cannot follow the speed of bandwidth increase. Thus a key component in these novel networks is the optical node. Through this node we want to switch traffic very fast and reliably, preferably transparent. Lack of efficient and practically realizable optical buffer, however, makes migration from electronic routers to optical routers a non-straightforward transition. In most optical nodes payload traffic can be switched transparently, whilst control information (e.g., in a header, on a control channel) is still converted to the electronic domain in every node, since optical processing is far from mature. In this paper we present a possible architecture for such a node, array waveguide gratings and all-optical tuneable wavelength converters. The concept of this switch is explained and the node is evaluated in terms of loss rate. We will see that an inherent problem of this switch is its internal blocking. This drawback can be greatly overcome by using an intelligent and efficient wavelength assignment algorithm within the node. Simulation of slotted operation will give some numerical results.
Photonic Network Communications – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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