Abstract

Over the past 25 years, networks have evolved from being relatively static with fairly homogeneous traffic to being more configurable and carrying a heterogeneous array of services. As the applications are ultimately the driver of network evolution, the paper begins with a brief history of circuit, packet, and wave services, along with the development of the corresponding transport layers. The discussion then moves to the evolution of network-node architecture, with an emphasis on the optical-electrical-optical and optical-bypass paradigms. Scalability and cost-effectiveness in meeting network demands are two key factors in the discussion. The evolution of networking equipment, along with the development of the optical control plane, has facilitated a configurable optical layer. The enabling technologies, along with their ramifications, are discussed. Finally, the paper speculates on how capacity might evolve in the future, to handle the undoubtedly new services that are on the horizon.

© 2008 IEEE

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