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Although the problem of dimensioning an optical transport network is not new, the consideration of signal quality degradation caused by the optical medium calls for revisiting the problem in the context of dimensioning optical wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) networks. This paper addresses the issue of minimum-cost planning of long-reach WDM networks in combination with optoelectronic signal regeneration as a countermeasure for sanitizing the signal quality of lightpaths that are found to be impaired. The commonly used method of placing regenerators proportionally to the physical distance covered by a lightpath is evaluated in a realistic dimensioning scenario and for various heterogeneity degrees of optical equipment, showing that it is plagued with a serious tradeoff between efficacy and cost of regeneration. As a remedy, we propose a novel method for design/dimensioning and regeneration placement for WDM networks that employs impairment-awareness. Through experimentation with real optical network configurations and for varying heterogeneity of optical equipment, the proposed method is shown to break the aforementioned tradeoff, resulting in significant reduction in regeneration effort compared to distance-based regeneration. This is achieved without compromising the signal quality of any of the lightpaths selected by the dimensioning process and with increased cost efficiency.
Date of Publication: June 2011