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To bridge the gap between the current practice of setting up expensive, dedicated, lightpath connections (i.e., static topologies), and the distant future vision of inexpensive access to dynamically switched end-to-end lightpaths we propose a medium term solution in the form of edge-reconfigurable optical networks (ERONs). An ERON is an overlay-control network created by installing readily available MEMS optical switches and implementing a GMPLS control plane at sites interconnected by static lightpaths. The switches and control software are deployed at the edge of the network and operated by the organization-user (i.e., outside the network provider's control), hence the term ldquoERON.ldquo By providing dynamic, automated control of end-to-end lightpaths, ERONs enable the sharing of expensive network resources among multiple users and applications that require sporadic access to these resources. We develop an algorithm for creating an ERON from an existing topology of static lightpaths, and we present simulation results that quantify the benefits of ERONs in terms of lightpaths compared to assembling a set of independent and dedicated circuits.
Date of Conference: 18-20 Feb. 2009