In emerging multi-bit-rate wavelength switched optical networks (WSONs), the coexistence of lightpaths operating at different bit-rates and modulation formats (e.g., based on amplitude and phase modulation) induces relevant traffic dependent detrimental effects that need to be considered during impairment-aware routing and wavelength assignment (IA-RWA). The considerable complexity of IA-RWA computation has driven the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to propose specific path computation element (PCE) architectures in support of IA-RWA for WSONs. In this paper, following the IETF indications, we expand two PCE architectures and experimentally evaluate five different PCE architectural solutions, performing either combined or separated impairment estimation and RWA, with on-line and off-line computation of impairment validated paths, and with the possible utilization of a novel PCE Protocol (PCEP) extension. Results in terms of traffic engineering performance, path computation delivery time and amount of exchanged PCEP messages are reported and discussed to highlight the benefits and application scenarios of the considered PCE architectures.
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