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Optical packet switching promises to bring the flexibility and efficiency of the Internet to transparent optical networking with bit rates extending beyond that currently available with electronic router technologies. New optical signal processing techniques have been demonstrated that enable routing at bit rates from 10 Gb/s to beyond 40 Gb/s. We review these signal processing techniques and how all-optical-wavelength converter technology can be used to implement packet switching functions. Specific approaches that utilize-ultra-fast all-optical nonlinear fiber wavelength converters and monolithically integrated optical wavelength converters are discussed and research results presented.
Date of Publication: Feb 2003