Current optical networks are migrating to wavelength division multiplexing (WDM)-based fiber transport between traditional electronic multiplexers/demultiplexers, routers, and switches. Passive optical add-drop WDM networks have emerged but an optical data network that makes full use of the technologies of dynamic optical routing and switching exists only in experimental test-beds. This paper will discuss architecture and technology issues for the design of high performance optical data networks with two classes of technologies, WDM and time division multiplexing (TDM). The WDM network architecture presented will stress WDM aware internet protocol (IP), taking full advantage of optical reconfiguration, optical protection and restoration, traffic grooming to minimize electronics costs, and optical flow-switching for large transactions. Special attention is paid to the access network where innovative approaches to architecture may have a significant cost benefit. In the more distant future, ultrahigh-speed optical TDM networks, operating at single stream data rates of 100 Gb/s, may offer unique advantages over WDM networks. These advantages may include the ability to provide integrated services to high-end users, multiple quality-of-service (QoS) levels, and truly flexible bandwidth-on-demand. We will give an overview of an ultrahigh-speed TDM network architecture and describe recent key technology developments such as high-speed sources, switches, buffers, and rate converters.
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