Abstract

This paper examines the role of optical and electronic technologies in future high-capacity routers. In particular, optical and electronic technologies for use in the key router functions of buffering and switching are compared. The comparison is based on aggressive but plausible estimates of buffer and switch performance projected out to around 2020. The analysis of buffer technologies uses a new model of power dissipation in optical-delay-line buffers using optical fiber and planar waveguides, including slow-light waveguides. Using this model together with models of storage capacity in ideal and nonideal slow-light delay lines, the power dissipation and scaling characteristics of optical and electronic buffers are compared. The author concludes that planar integrated optical buffers occupy larger chip area than electronic buffers, dissipate more power than electronic buffers, and are limited in capacity to, at most, a few IP packets. Optical fiber-based buffers have lower power dissipation but are bulky. The author also concludes that electronic buffering will remain the technology of choice in future high-capacity routers. The power dissipation of high-capacity optical and electronic cross connects for a number of cross connect architectures is compared. The author shows that optical and electronic cross connects dissipate similar power and require a similar chip area. Optical technologies show a potential for inclusion in high-capacity routers, especially as the basis for arrayed-waveguide-grating-based cross connects and as components in E/O/E interconnects. A major challenge in large cross connects, both optical and electronic, will be to efficiently manage the very large number of interconnects between chips and boards. The general conclusion is that electronic technologies are likely to remain as integral components in the signal transmission path of future high-capacity routers. There does not appear to be a compelling case for replacing electronic routers with optically transparent optical packet switches.

© 2006 IEEE

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ACM SigComm Comput. Commun. Rev. (1)

C. Minkenberg, R. P. Luijten, F. Abel, W. Denzel, M. Gusat, "Current issues in packet switch design," ACM SigComm Comput. Commun. Rev. 33, 119-124 (2003).

ACM/SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. (1)

D. Wischik, N. McKeown, "Part I: Buffer sizes for core routers," ACM/SIGCOMM Comput. Commun. Rev. 35, 75-78 (2005).

Electron. Cool. (1)

A. Vukovic, "Communication network power efficiency—Assessment, limitations, and directions," Electron. Cool. 10, 18-24 (2004).

Electron. Lett. (4)

J. Spring, R. S. Tucker, "Photonic 2 $\times$ 2 packet switch with input buffers," Electron. Lett. 29, 284-285 (1993).

W. L. Ha, R. M. Fortenberry, R. S. Tucker, "Demonstration of photonic fast packet switching at 700 Mbit/s data rate," Electron. Lett. 27, 789-790 (1991).

R. Fortenberry, A. J. Lowery, W. L. Ha, R. S. Tucker, "Photonic packet switch using semiconductor optical amplifier gates," Electron. Lett. 27, 1305-1307 (1991).

J. T. Ahn, M. L. Lee, H. S. Seo, K. H. Kim, "Low input power wavelength converter using gain-clamped semiconductor optical amplifier," Electron. Lett. 38, 1045-1047 (2002).

IEEE Commun. Mag. (2)

S. Yao, B. Mukherjee, S. Dixit, "Advances in photonic packet switching: An overview," IEEE Commun. Mag. 38, 84-94 (2000).

D. K. Hunter, I. Andonovic, "Approaches to optical internet packet switching," IEEE Commun. Mag. 38, 116-122 (2000).

IEEE J. Quantum Electron. (2)

T. Palm, L. Thylen, O. Nilsson, O. Sahlen, "Switch energy requirements for first- and second-order perturbations in asymmetric quantum box optical switches," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 33, 562-565 (1997).

S. Dubovitsky, W. H. Steier, "Relationship between the slowing and loss in optical delay lines," IEEE J. Quantum Electron. 42, 372-377 (2006).

IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. (5)

H. J. Chao, D. Kung-Li, J. Zhigang, "PetaStar: A petabit photonic packet switch," IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 21, 1096-1112 (2003).

S. Bregni, A. Pattavina, G. Vegetti, "Architectures and performance of AWG-based optical switching nodes for IP networks," IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 21, 1113-1121 (2003).

D. Chiaroni, "Packet switching matrix: A key element for the backbone and the metro," IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 21, 1018-1025 (2003).

V. W. S. Chan, "Guest editorial: Optical communications and networking series," IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 23, 1441-1443 (2005).

J. D. Evankow, Jr.R. A. Thompson, "Photonic switching modules designed with laser-diode amplifiers," IEEE J. Sel. Areas Commun. 6, 1087-1095 (1988).

IEEE J. Sel. Topics Quantum Electron. (1)

S. Mookherjea, A. Yariv, "Coupled resonator optical waveguides," IEEE J. Sel. Topics Quantum Electron. 8, 448-456 (2002).

IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits (1)

C. Kromer, G. Sialm, C. Berger, T. Morf, M. L. Schmatz, F. Ellinger, D. Erni, G.-L. Bona, H. Jackel, "A 100-mW 4 $\times$ 10 Gb/s transceiver in 80-nm CMOS for high-density optical interconnects," IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits 40, 2667-2679 (2005).

IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. (4)

M. A. Summerfield, R. S. Tucker, "Optimization of pump and signal powers for wavelength converters based on FWM in semiconductor optical amplifiers," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 8, 1316-1318 (1996).

T. Simoyama, H. Kuwatsuka, B. E. Little, M. Matsuda, Y. Kotaki, H. Ishikawa, "High-efficiency wavelength conversion using FWM in an SOA integrated DFB laser," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 12, 31-33 (2000).

E. Burmeister, J. E. Bowers, "Integrated gate matrix switch for optical packet buffering," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 18, 103-105 (2006).

R. F. Kalman, L. G. Kazovsky, J. W. Goodman, "Space division switches based on semiconductor optical amplifiers," IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 4, 1048-1051 (1992).

IEEE Trans. Adv. Packag. (1)

A. V. Mule, R. A. Villalaz, P. J. Joseph, A. Naeemi, P. A. Kohl, T. K. Gaylord, J. D. Meindl, "Polylithic integration of electrical and optical interconnect technologies for gigascale fiber-to-the-chip communication," IEEE Trans. Adv. Packag. 28, 421-433 (2005).

IEEE Trans. Electron Devices (1)

K. Washio, "SiGe HBT and BiCMOS technologies for optical transmission and wireless communication systems," IEEE Trans. Electron Devices 50, 656-668 (2003).

IEEE Trans. Very Large Scale Integr. (VLSI) Syst. (1)

T. H. Szymanski, H. Wu, A. Gourgy, "Power complexity of multiplexer-based optoelectronic crossbar switches," IEEE Trans. Very Large Scale Integr. (VLSI) Syst. 13, 604-617 (2005).

IEICE Trans. Commun. (1)

R. S. Tucker, W. Zhong, "Photonic packet switching: An overview," IEICE Trans. Commun. E82-B, 254-264 (1999).

J. High Speed Netw. (1)

C. Qiao, M. Yoo, "Optical burst switching OBS—A new paradigm for an optical internet," J. High Speed Netw. 8, 69-84 (1999).

J. Lightw. Technol. (18)

R. Parthiban, R. S. Tucker, C. Leckie, "Waveband grooming and IP aggregation in optical networks," J. Lightw. Technol. 21, 2476-2488 (2003).

D. K. Hunter, W. D. Cornwell, T. H. Gilfedder, A. Franzen, I. Andonovic, "SLOB: A switch with large optical buffers for packet switching," J. Lightw. Technol. 16, 1725-1736 (1998).

H. Yang, S. J. B. Yoo, "All-optical variable buffering strategies and switch fabric architectures for future all-optical data routers," J. Lightw. Technol. 23, 3321-3330 (2005).

R. S. Tucker, P.-C. Ku, C. J. Chang-Hasnain, "Slow-light optical buffers: Capabilities and fundamental limitations," J. Lightw. Technol. 23, 4046-4066 (2005).

E. Le Rouzic, S. Gooselin, "160-Gb/s optical networking: A prospective techno-economical analysis," J. Lightw. Technol. 23, 3024-3033 (2005).

R. V. Caenegem, J. M. Martinez, D. Colle, M. Pickavet, P. Demeester, F. Ramos, J. Marti, "From IP over WDM to all-optical packet switching: Economical view," J. Lightw. Technol. 24, 1638-1645 (2006).

M. L. Masanovic, V. Lal, J. A. Summers, J. S. Barton, E. J. Skogen, L. G. Rau, L. A. Coldren, D. J. Blumenthal, "Widely tunable monolithically integrated all-optical wavelength converters in InP," J. Lightw. Technol. 23, 1350-1362 (2005).

M. C. Chia, D. K. Hunter, I. Andonovic, P. Ball, I. Wright, S. P. Ferguson, K. M. Guild, M. J. O'Mahony, "Packet loss and delay performance of feedback and feed-forward arrayed-waveguide gratings-based optical packet switches with WDM inputs-outputs," J. Lightw. Technol. 19, 1241-1254 (2001).

H. Cho, P. Kapur, K. C. Saraswat, "Power comparison between high-speed electrical and optical interconnects for interchip communication," J. Lightw. Technol. 22, 2021-2033 (2004).

F. Wei, Z. Wen-De, "Noise analysis of photonic packet synchronizer," J. Lightw. Technol. 22, 343-350 (2004).

C. Guillemot, M. Renaud, P. Gambini, C. Janz, I. Andonovic, R. Bauknecht, B. Bostica, M. Burzio, F. Callegati, M. Casoni, D. Chiaroni, F. Clerot, S. L. Danielsen, F. Dorgeuille, A. Dupas, A. Franzen, P. B. Hansen, D. K. Hunter, A. Kloch, R. Krahenbuhl, B. Lavigne, A. Le Corre, C. Raffaelli, M. Schilling, J. C. Simon, L. Zucchelli, "Transparent optical packet switching: The European ACTS KEOPS project approach," J. Lightw. Technol. 16, 2117-2134 (1998).

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