Abstract

In this paper, a network architecture for the realization of a pragmatic framework for optical packet transport called the light-frame (LF) framework is proposed. The architecture enables the transport of packets over optical media. While doing so, it relaxes the need for address recognition as well as high-speed switching, which are the two key hindering factors that have prevented contemporary optical packet transport solutions from being deployed. Using this framework, a tradeoff was achieved between cost (maturity in deployment) and performance (network efficiency). The idea is to create a logical topology that enables N<sup>2</sup> connectivity, yielding sublambda granularity, and thereby facilitating packet transport. Methods for topology discovery and conflict resolution are proposed. This paper also discusses stochastic as well as optimization analysis of the framework. The fiber resource requirements of this network solution are compared to a leading access networking solution—passive optical networks (PONs)—and cost benefits are shown. The LF concept due to its finely granular application, despite a present technological bottleneck, presents a good implementation case that allows it to be pushed for next-generation optical packet transport, especially in the access area.

© 2006 IEEE

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