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A photonic knockout switch for high-speed packet networks

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1 Author(s)
Eng, K.Y. ; AT&T Bell Lab., Holmdel, NJ, USA

A high-performance packet switch is discussed which uses a photonic interconnect fabric to route very-wideband data packets from input to output. Packet contention is accomplished using a much slower electronic controller, based on the knockout principle operating in parallel with the optical interconnect. Specifically, the use of a wavelength-division-multiplex fabric whereby high-speed (2-4 Gb/s) packets are regenerated before modulating a single-frequency laser at each switch input. The optical signals from various inputs are summed in a star coupler and then broadcast to the different coupler outputs. Each coupler is equipped with a small number (L) of tunable receivers arranged in a parallel manner, each preceded by a power splitter so that up to L simultaneous packets can be received by each output. The L packets so received are stored in an L-input one-output first-in first-out (FIFO) buffer so that the FIFO packet sequence is always guaranteed. Not only does this architecture achieve the best delay-throughput performance, but, remarkably, modularity is such that the optical complexity grows linearly with the number of switch ports./

Published in:

Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Journal on  (Volume:6 ,  Issue: 7 )