This article discusses the possible applications for optical networks based on wavelength division multiplexing and how they compete and complement current high speed networks (SONET, ATM). We first outline the best-case scenario for this technology and describe the spectrum of optical networks (WDM links, passive optical access networks, broadcast-and-select networks, and wavelength routing networks). Then we focus on wavelength routing networks and describe their advantages and disadvantages relative to other competing alternatives for very-high-speed networks. Finally, the paper speculates on how capacity might evolve the future to handle the undoubtedly new services that are on the horizon.
[...] One objection that has been raised to coarse switching is that it may reduce the ﬂexibility of the network somewhat. However, studies have shown that, with good algorithms, the network efﬁciency lost due to waveband switching as opposed to wavelength switching is small . Furthermore, if the options are switching ten 10-Gb/s wave lengths as a unit versus one 100-Gb/s wavelength, the switching granularities are the same. Moreover one can improve the ﬂexibility of waveband switching by implementing a hierarchical switch architecture (e.g., and with waveband grooming. [...]
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[...] Killey, “Nonlinear optical effects in WDM transmission,” i n Optical Fiber Telecommunications IV I . Kaminow and T. Li, Eds. New York: Elsevier Science P. Bullock, C. Ward, and Q. Wang, “Optimizing wavelength grouping granularity for optical add-drop network architectures,” presented at the Optical Fiber Commun. Conf. Atlanta, GA, Mar Paper WH2. K. Harada et al., “Hierarchical optical path cross-connect systems for large scale WDM networks,” presented at the Optical Fiber Commun. Conf. San Diego, CA, Feb Paper WM55. A. A. [...]
[...] As a percentage of the wavelength capacity, less spare capacity needs to be reserved to accommodate the trafﬁc burstiness, thereby resulting in an overall higher rate of network efﬁciency Increasing the Number of Wavelengths Rather than increasing the bit-rate, one can boost the ﬁber capacity by increasing the number of wavelengths while decreasing the spacing between channels and maintaining, or possibly lowering, the bit-rate. Fo r example, in the future, this might imply implementing a 1000 10-Gb/s system as opposed to a 100 100-Gb/s system. [...]
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