The design of a fiber-optic local area network (LAN) demonstration system is described. A complete LAN system would consist of an array of 16 personal computers (PC’s), where each PC has a network interface card (NIC) with a parallel fiber-optic datalink to a centralized optoelectronic switch core. The centralized core switches the data generated by 16 NIC’s, up to 128 Gbit/s of bandwidth. The demonstrator is designed to scale to terabits of bandwidth by use of an emerging optoelectronic technology, i.e., integrated complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) substrates with vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) and photodetector optical input and output. A subset of the complete system was constructed and is operational. A prototype NIC card, with Motorola Optobus VCSEL transceivers for the optical datalinks, was constructed and is described. A prototype high-speed bipolar switch core, with statically configurable electrical positive-emitter coupled-logic 16 × 16 crossbar switches, CMOS field-programmable gate arrays, and Motorola Optobus transceivers, was constructed and is described. We successfully demonstrated the transmission of high-speed packetized data from one NIC card, through 10 m of parallel fiber ribbon and the centralized switch core, and back to the NIC. We summarize our experiences on the design and testing of our first demonstration system and our development toward a terabit switch core.
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