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This paper deals with the problem of interconnection of many high-speed bursty traffic users via an optical passive star coupler. Each user can tune its laser over a range of wavelengths, thus resulting in a wavelength division multiplexed communication. The total number of wavelengths over which user tunability exists could be much smaller than the number of users. Therefore, some form of random access sharing and packet switching may be necessary. We propose several protocols that require each user to have a tunable receiver. The information on "where" and "when" to tune the laser is confined to a control (setup) channel that users tune to when in idle mode. An interconnection between two users lasting for the length of a data packet is set up on the control channel by the transmitting user who informs the receiving user where to tune in order to receive the data packet. No centralized control or coordination is required among the users. After analyzing each protocol, we present the throughput/ delay versus the offered traffic and the delay versus throughput in a sequence of plots. We show that in typical applications an average throughput of up to 0.95 can be achieved at a reasonable average delay using one of these protocols. In our benchmark examples we present an optical local area network (LAN) with a total throughput of 100- Gbit/s in which every user has access to a 1-Gbit/s data rate and the network can support over 1000 users. The protocols can be used in a) large LAN's that do not require a large capacity, b) small LAN's (1 kin) that require a large capacity and c) large LAN's (tens of kilometers) that require a rather large capacity.
Date of Publication: Dec 1987