Data centers have to sustain the rapid growth of data traffic due to the increasing demand of bandwidth-hungry internet services. The current intra-data center fat tree topology causes communication bottlenecks in the server interaction process, power-hungry O-E-O conversions that limit the minimum latency and the power efficiency of these systems. In this paper we numerically and experimentally investigate an optical packet switch architecture with modular structure and highly distributed control that allow configuration times in the order of nanoseconds. Numerical results indicate that the candidate architecture scaled over 4000 ports, provides an overall throughput over 50 Tb/s and a packet loss rate below 10−6 while assuring sub-microsecond latency. We present experimental results that demonstrate the feasibility of a 16x16 optical packet switch based on parallel 1x4 integrated optical cross-connect modules. Error-free operations can be achieved with 4 dB penalty while the overall energy consumption is of 66 pJ/b. Based on those results, we discuss feasibility to scale the architecture to a much larger port count.
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