This paper presents the results of the optical packet switched network (OPSnet) project, which investigated the design of an asynchronous optical packet switch suitable for the core of an optical transport network (OTN). The requirements for the switch were to control and route variable-length packets transmitted at bit rates beyond 100 Gbit/s. The subsystems and techniques used are analyzed and presented. Fast header encoding and passive decoding is based on the differential phase-shift keying (DPSK) method. The dual-pump four-wave mixing (d-p FWM) wavelength-conversion technique, in combination with an arrayed waveguide grating (AWG), is utilized for packet switching. An advanced and fully controllable mechanism for the packet-switch control is presented, which is implemented on field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology. The control wavelength is generated using a tunable laser, the actual wavelength and new header values are provided utilizing fast header recognition and look-up tables. The integration of the subsystems is discussed, and the results of a four-output port asynchronous packet-switch demonstrator operating at 40 Gbit/s are presented. Finally, the switch limitations are examined and design issues are discussed.
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