This paper introduces a new approach to integrate different types of medium access control (MAC) protocols into a single wavelength-division-multiplexing (WDM) network system. The WDM network is based on a passive star coupler,and the purpose of integrating different MAC protocols is to efficiently accommodate various types of multimedia traffic streams with different characteristics and quality of service demands. Our integrated MAC protocol is termed multimedia wavelength-division multiple-access (M-WDMA). Three types of multimedia traffic streams are considered in this paper: constant-bit-rate traffic and two classes of variable-bit-rate traffic. Accordingly, three tunable transmitters and one fixed home channel receiver are used in the design of each WDM node. The transmitters transmit the three types of multimedia traffic streams in a pipeline fashion so as to overcome the tuning time overhead and to support parallel transmissions of traffic streams that emerge simultaneously. We further incorporate a dynamic bandwidth allocation scheme that dynamically adjusts the portions of bandwidth occupied by the three types of traffic streams according to their demands. Consequently the M-WDMA protocol achieves high utilization and efficiently adapts to the demands of the multimedia streams so as to guarantee their QoS. The performance of the M-WDMA is evaluated through a simple analytical model and extensive discrete-event simulations. It is shown that the M-WDMA can satisfy the QoS requirements of various mixes of multimedia traffic streams even under very stringent requirements. Moreover, we show that the M-WDMA outperforms conventional MAC protocols for WDM networks. As a result, we expect M-WDMA to be a good multimedia MAC candidate protocol for future-generation WDM networks.
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