In this paper, an architecture for code-empowered optical CDMA (OCDMA) lightwave networks is presented. The architecture is based on reconfigurable optically transparent paths among users of the network to provide high-bandwidth optical connections on demand over small areas such as local area networks or access networks. The network operates on the transmission of incoherent OCDMA codes, each network station being equipped with an OCDMA encoder and decoder. The routing at a network node is based on the OCDMA code itself. The destination address, as well as the next node on the path, is given by the code as in a code-empowered network. A node consists of an OCDMA router built from parallel code converter routers that perform switching, routing, and code conversion. The latter enables a virtual code path for increased scalability. Commonly available delay lines enable the tunability of the encoder, decoder, and router for a reconfigurable and flexible network. Flexibility and granularity are also accentuated by OCDMA encoding. An OCDMA lightwave network can therefore respond to changes in traffic load, traffic conditions, failure, and other network impairments. We describe the possible architectures and the routing constraints of such OCDMA lightwave networks. We present a power analysis and focus on the performance issues of dynamic routing. The effect of coding, topology, load condition, and traffic demand is analyzed using simulations. The obtained results show that the flexibility of OCDMA and the large offered cardinality can be a solution to the needs of local area and access networks.
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