In this paper, various issues related to packet transportation in dynamically reconfigurable networks are studied and techniques for transmitting the associated signaling are discussed. A novel transportation frame based on multisymbol coding is presented, its functionality is analyzed, and the various alternatives for transmitting multiwavelength label/headers are reviewed and benchmarked. A physical layer performance comparison between two multiwavelength schemes, i.e., the bit-parallel and the multilevel (M -ary) coded, is carried out using analytic modeling as well as simulation tools. It is shown that the multilevel coding is an interesting solution,particularly in a wide-area network environment deploying line rates higher than 10 Gb/s.
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