We propose a hybrid optical–wireless access network that consists of reconfigurable optical backhaul and wireless mesh networks (WMNs). The complementary characteristics of wireless and optical networks are combined to provide a broadband and ubiquitous last-mile connection. Wireless mesh routers are deployed to penetrate the vicinity of end users for a flexible and ubiquitous connection. It eliminates massive and geographically scattered deployment of physical infrastructure to reach the end users. The broadband optical backhaul consists of optical ring and multiple tree networks, connecting the central hub and WMNs. The ends of the optical tree networks connect to the wireless gateway routers of WMNs. A hybrid time-division-multiplexing (TDM)/wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) optical backhaul is realized by wavelength-multiplexing multiple TDM-passive-optical-network streams. This hybrid architecture provides graceful scalability, cost effectiveness, and bandwidth efficiency. To adapt to a change of the overall demand in different districts, reconfigurability is implemented in the optical backhaul utilizing tunable optical transceivers. An experimental test bed is implemented to evaluate the reconfigurable scheme. Given the synergy of the optical backhaul and WMNs, we propose an integrated-routing algorithm to achieve load balancing on this hybrid architecture. The simulation using NS2 shows an approximately 25% throughput improvement with load balancing.
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