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In this paper we present the design and performance characteristics for a custom test system developed to characterize a DWDM optically-routed packet switching network (called "data vortex"). The existing demonstration system supports aggregate data rates of 20 to 32 Gbps using 8 optical payload wavelengths each running at 2.5-4.0 Gbps. Several other optical wavelengths are used to transmit a source-synchronous clock, frame, and eight routing address bits. All of the signals are transmitted in a parallel 25.6ns optical burst (packet). Switching nodes within the data vortex decode the optical routing bits in real-time and direct the packet to its intended destination. Unlike traditional switching networks, the data vortex nodes are switched "on the fly" by the routing information contained within the optical packet itself (rather than by a central control system).