All-optical Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) backbones are believed to be a fundamental component in future high speed networks. Currently, the most pursued approach for Wide Area Networks (WANs) is wavelength routing, in which communication circuits are established between node pairs by means of lightpaths (paths of light) spanning one or more fiber-optic links. This approach has, however, two drawbacks. Since the number of wavelengths and links in a network is finite, not all node pairs can be connected via a dedicated lightpath directly. Consequently, some node pairs will communicate using a concatenation of lightpaths, which requires electronic switching of in transit information, loosing the advantages of optical transparency. Secondly, typically some form of (electronic) traffic grooming will be necessary to make efficient use of the fixed lightpath capacity. This paper proposes to design all-optical WANs using a novel approach, called photonic slot routing. With photonic slot routing, entire slots, each carrying multiple packets on distinct wavelengths, are switched transparently and individually, using available fast and wavelength non-sensitive devices. The advantage of using photonic slot routing is threefold. All node pairs in the network communicate all-optically. Traffic aggregation necessary to efficiently use the capacity of the wavelength channels is optically achieved. The solution is practical as it is based on proven optical technologies. In addition, through the use of wavelength non-sensitive devices the proposed WAN design yields intrinsic scalability in the number of wavelengths.
Photonic Network Communications – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 19, 2004
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