A new wavelength converter sharing strategy for multifiber optical switches, namely shared-per-wavelength (SPW), which employs wavelength converters with fixed input wavelengths is presented. The aim is to reduce switch costs by using simpler optical components and low complexity space switching matrices. Practical implementations of both the well-known shared-per-node (SPN) and the new SPW schemes are presented, as well as the related scheduling algorithms to manage optical packet forwarding in synchronous scenario. An analytical model to evaluate blocking performance of the SPN architecture is also provided. Results show the accuracy of the model in the range of interest for switch design. The proposed architectures are compared in terms of performance and number of optical components employed. The SPW approach is shown to save a large number of semiconductor optical amplifier gates with respect to the SPN one when the number of fibers per interface is suitably not too high. In these cases, the SPW architecture requires a number of wavelength converters higher than the SPN, but simpler, being their inputs tuned on a single wavelength.
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