Abstract

An optical architecture is described that offers the maximum interconnectivity afforded by light. The switch is described conceptually, and specific implementations are detailed for a prototype and for a large-scale version that supports more than 10 million channels, each of which carries data at rates of 10 Gbit/s or more. Results for a prototype are presented. Implementation issues, including off-axis propagation and filter angular sensitivity, are addressed. The architecture supports a new generation of parallel routers, and the switch is strictly nonblocking if color switching is not required. Modest levels of color switching, i.e., wavelength changing, can be supported by the architecture with little change by use of an optical foreplane. If full color switching is required, an optical backplane compatible with the architecture is used. Both opaque (optical–electronic–optical) and transparent (mirror array) versions of the switch are described. The architecture can support very low-cost switches for two reasons: (1) The underlying components can utilize wafer-based technologies, and (2) a single alignment can align hundreds or even thousands of channels at once.

© 2002 Optical Society of America

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