Optical Burst Switching

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With recent advances in wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology, the amount of raw bandwidth available in fiber links has increased by many orders of magnitude. Meanwhile, the rapid growth of Internet traffic requires high transmission rates beyond a conventional electronic router's capability. Harnessing the huge bandwidth in optical fiber cost-effectively is essential for the development of the next generation optical Internet.

Several approaches have been proposed to take advantage of optical communications and in particular optical switch¬ing. One such approach is optical circuit switching based on wavelength (A) routing whereby a lightpath needs to be established using a dedicated wavelength on each link from source to destination. Once the connection is set up, data remains in the optical domain throughout the lightpath. An alternative to optical circuit switching is optical packet switching. In optical packet switching, while the packet header is being processed either ail-optically or electronically after an Optical/Electronic (O/E) conversion at each intermediate node, the data payload must wait in the fiber delay lines and be forwarded later to the next node.

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