The switching speeds of electronics cannot keep up with the transmission capacity offered by optics. All-optical switch fabrics play a central role in the effort to migrate the switching functions to the optical layer. Optical packet switching provides an almost arbitrary fine granularity but faces significant challenges in the processing and buffering of bits at high speeds. Generalized multiprotocol label switching seeks to eliminate the asynchronous transfer mode and synchronous optical network layers, thus implementing Internet protocol over wavelength-division multiplexing. Optical burst switching attempts to minimize the need for processing and buffering by aggregating flows of data packets into bursts. In this paper, we present an extensive overview of the current technologies and techniques concerning optical switching.
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