Abstract

The communication requirements imposed by the unabated growth in both the size and computational density of modern data centers will soon outpace the fundamental capabilities of conventional electronic interconnection networks. Optical interconnects represent a potentially disruptive technology that can simultaneously satisfy the throughput, latency, and energy demands of these next-generation systems. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end photonic networking platform for future optically-interconnected data center networks. A reconfigurable hybrid photonic network building block and a protocol-agnostic optical network interface comprise the key elements of our proposed system. A modular optical switch fabric prototyping platform is designed and implemented to support a wide variety of potential photonic technologies. We successfully demonstrate nanosecond-scale optical packet-switching at 1-Tb/s per port (40-Gb/s × 25Λs) through our prototype, configured as a 4 × 4 switch, and confirm error-free transmission across all wavelengths. In order to flexibly allocate appropriate bandwidth for heterogeneous applications, we further implement and evaluate a novel wavelength-reconfigurable optical packet- and circuit-switch by utilizing our optical switch platform. Finally, we detail our implementation of an optical network interface card (O-NIC) designed to bridge the gap between the well-established protocol layers utilized in current networks and the physical layer of the proposed photonic networks and demonstrate its functionality by the streaming of high-definition video through the end-to-end optical network.

© 2012 IEEE

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