Abstract

This paper reviews advances in the technology of integrated semiconductor optical amplifier based photonic switch fabrics, with particular emphasis on their suitability for high performance network switches for use within a datacenter. The key requirements for large port count optical switch fabrics are addressed noting the need for switches with substantial port counts. The design options for a 16 × 16 port photonic switch fabric architecture are discussed and the choice of a Clos–tree design is described. The control strategy, based on arbitration and scheduling, for an integrated switch fabric is explained. The detailed design and fabrication of the switch is followed by experimental characterization, showing net optical gain and operation at 10 Gb/s with bit error rates lower than 109. Finally improvements to the switch are suggested, which should result in 100 Gb/s per port operation at energy efficiencies of 3 pJ/bit.

© 2011 OSA

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