Abstract

A novel optical free-space mesh-connected bus interconnect network architecture is proposed. A mesh-connected bus [IEEE Trans. Comput. C-30, 264–273 (1981)] is known to have the capability of interconnecting, with a three-stage switching, N nodes with a power distribution loss proportional to N and is therefore advantageous for networking a large number, say over 1000, of communicating ports. Based on conventional space-invariant optical components in a compact and efficient geometry, the proposed optical mesh-connected bus system concept can be used to build either free-space optical interconnect links for parallel processing applications or central switching systems for local or global lightwave communication networks. The proposed architecture lends itself to networking under both the wavelength-division multiple access and other multiple-access environments. In this paper, based on the wavelength-division multiple-access environment, various optical system implementation and performance issues are discussed and parameters are analyzed. It was found that by use of a reasonably compact three-dimensional free-space volume, more than 100,000 dispersion-limited communication nodes at a uniform channel spacing of 0.75 nm can be linked with a moderate power distribution loss of 28 dB. Some preliminary optical wavelength-division multiple-access mesh-connected bus experiments based on a 27 × 27 panchromatic optical source array were performed to confirm the operational principle of the proposed concept.

© 1993 Optical Society of America

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