All-optical label swapping is a promising approach to ultra-high packet-rate routing and forwarding directly in the optical layer. In this paper, we review results of the DARPA Next Generation Internet program in all-optical label swapping at University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB). We describe the overall network approach to encapsulate packets with optical labels and process forwarding and routing functions independent of packet bit rate and format. Various approaches to label coding using serial and subcarrier multiplexing addressing and the associated techniques for label erasure and rewriting, packet regeneration and packet-rate wavelength conversion are reviewed. These functions have been implemented using both fiber and semiconductor-based technologies and the ongoing effort at UCSB to integrate these functions is reported. We described experimental results for various components and label swapping functions and demonstration of 40 Gb/s optical label swapping. The advantages and disadvantages of using the various coding techniques and implementation technologies are discussed.
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