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This paper addresses the challenges hindering all-optical packet switched networks and it focuses on the technologies that will make it possible. The basic structure of an optical packet switching router is presented. On the basis of the design, the need for optical buffers is justified and the adequacy of optical labels to perform routing is defended. Subsequently, the principles and techniques for developing slow-light based optical buffers are addressed and the photonic crystal approach to slow-light buffering is discussed, highlighting its benefits and challenges. The peculiar design flexibility of this approach is demonstrated with simulations. Ultimately, optical labelling is briefly presented as a beneficial approach for the switching layer.
Date of Conference: 12-14 Oct. 2009