Abstract

Electrical packet switching is well known as a flexible solution for small data transfers, whereas optical flow switching (OFS) might be an effective solution for large Internet file transfers. The UltraFlow project, a joint effort of three universities, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Texas–Dallas, aims at providing an efficient dual-mode solution (i.e., IP and OFS) to the current network. In this paper, we propose and experimentally demonstrate UltraFlow Access, a novel optical access network that enables dual-mode service to the end users: IP and OFS. The new architecture cooperates with legacy passive optical networks (PONs) to provide both IP and novel OFS services. The latter is facilitated by a novel optical flow network unit (OFNU) that we have proposed, designed, and experimentally demonstrated. Different colored and colorless OFNU designs are presented, and their impact on the network performance is explored. Our testbed experiments demonstrate concurrent bidirectional 1.25 Gbps IP and 10 Gbps per-wavelength Flow error-free communication delivered over the same infrastructure. The support of intra-PON OFS communication, that is, between two OFNUs in the same PON, is also explored and experimentally demonstrated.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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