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Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) is a technology that assigns to the users of an optical network specific wavelengths or "colors" and mixes them in a single strand of fiber. Heterogeneous data is transmitted simultaneously across lanes of light, which are demuxed at the receiving end and delivered to the clients. Instead of deploying more fibers or increasing the data transfer rate, the bandwidth of an optical link is scalable by adding more wavelengths to the system. DWDM has been pioneered for applications in long-haul telecom networks, requiring bulky, sophisticated, and custom instrumentations. Nowadays, most of the main components are available off-the-shelf as compact and reliable devices, making it possible to use this technology in real-time environments. In this paper, we investigate the possibility to deploy DWDM in data acquisition (DAQ) systems for future high-energy physics experiments. We present our tests of the AGEREs Translight CA16, a DWDM transponder capable of full-duplex optical operations at 2.48 Gbit/s (OC-48). The results are discussed in view of a future integration of the transponder with a field programmable-gate array (FPGA)-based controller aimed at real-time applications.
Date of Publication: June 2004