Passive optical networks (PONs) are regarded as a promising solution for the broadband bandwidth bottleneck problem. However, due to their passive nature, legacy TDM-PONs are limited by their inflexible power distribution, while future WDM-PONs are restricted by their static wavelength allocation. To mitigate these limitations, we propose QPAR, a Quasi-Passive Reconfigurable node, which provides flexible power and bandwidth allocation, and enables a graceful upgrade from TDM-PON to WDM-PON. Due to its quasi-passive nature, QPAR only consumes power during reconfiguration. Simulation results show that QPAR can increase the number of users, extend the reach, and balance the traffic load in the network compared with legacy PONs. QPAR can be implemented using either discrete or integrated components. We demonstrate an experimental QPAR using two different optical latching switches based on micro-electro-mechanical systems and magneto-optic materials. Lastly, we experimentally investigate QPAR performances.
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