This paper reviews advanced optical burst switching (OBS) and optical packet switching (OPS) technologies and discusses their roles in the future photonic Internet. Discussions include optoelectronic and optical systems technologies as well as systems integration into viable network elements (OBS and OPS routers). Optical label switching (OLS) offers a unified multiple-service platform with effective and agile utilization of the available optical bandwidth in support of voice, data, and multimedia services on the Internet Protocol. In particular, OLS routers with wavelength routing switching fabrics and parallel optical labeling allow forwarding of asynchronously arriving variable-length packets, bursts, and circuits. By exploiting contention resolution in wavelength, time, and space domains, the OLS routers can achieve high throughput without resorting to a store-and-forward method associated with large buffer requirements. Testbed demonstrations employing OLS edge routers show high-performance networking in support of multimedia and data communications applications over the photonic Internet with optical packets and bursts switched directly at the optical layer.
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