Abstract

The recent acceleration in fiber-to-the-home deployment worldwide along with the emerging 5G communications are pressuring network operators to enhance their networks to serve these new deployments. Hence, operators are seeking new high-capacity optical-network architectures, while averting excessive capital and operational expenditures. Filterless optical networks (FONs), by replacing costly wavelength selective switches in switching nodes with passive optical power splitters/combiners, currently represent a prominent candidate for cost-effective optical-network deployment. In this tutorial, we provide an overview of the architecture and the design issues of FONs when deployed in core and in metro networks. We also perform a techno-economic study to quantify the economic benefits of FONs, comparing their cost to that of state-of-the-art filtered optical networks, and we discuss how several networking problems such as resource allocation, network slicing, and protection are tackled in the context of FONs. Finally, we present our vision of how research on FONs will evolve in the coming years.

© 2021 Optical Society of America

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