We present an architecture for implementing optical buffers, based on the feed-forward-buffer concept, that can truly emulate input queuing and accommodate asynchronous packet and burst operation. The architecture uses wavelength converters and fixed-length delay lines that are combined to form either a multiple-input buffer or a shared buffer. Both architectures are modular, allowing the expansion of the buffer at a cost that grows logarithmically with the buffer depth, where the cost is measured in terms of the number of switching elements, and wavelength converters are employed. The architectural design also provides a tradeoff between the number of wavelength converters and their tunability. The buffer architectures proposed are complemented with scheduling algorithms that can guarantee lossless communication and are evaluated using physical-layer simulations to obtain their performance in terms of bit-error rate and achievable buffer size.
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