Skip to Main Content
We propose a network structure for routing optical packets based on binary multiwavelength labels. We resolve the main drawbacks of previously proposed optical label switching scenarios: high splitting loss and complex, expensive hardware. In our scheme, the label is mapped bit-by-bit to a selection of wavelength bins. Variable-length packets are self-forwarded via a multistage switch. This structure is scalable, high-speed, simple, practical, and low-cost, exploiting the workhorses of today's optical communications systems: arrayed waveguide gratings, distributed feedback lasers, LiNbO3 switches, and low-speed photodiodes and electronics (~ 100 MHz). We also propose a solution to alleviate the sophisticated label swapping processing required in generalized multiprotocol label switching (GMPLS) networks. We time-multiplex the binary multiwavelength labels for the entire optical label switching path. We examine the performance of both schemes experimentally by verifying successful routing and error-free transmission.