A scalable photonic interconnection network architecture is proposed whereby a Clos network is populated with broadcast-and-select stages. This enables the efficient exploitation of an emerging class of photonic integrated switch fabric. A low distortion space switch technology based on recently demonstrated quantum-dot semiconductor optical amplifier technology, which can be operated uncooled, is used as the base switch element. The viability of these switches in cascaded networks is reviewed, and predictions are made through detailed physical layer simulation to explore the potential for larger-scale network connectivity. Optical signal degradation is estimated as a function of data capacity and network size. Power efficiency and physical layer complexity are addressed for high end-to-end bandwidth, nanosecond-reconfigurable switch fabrics, to highlight the potential for scaling to several tens of connections. The proposed architecture is envisaged to facilitate high-capacity, low-latency switching suited to computing systems, backplanes, and data networks. Broadband operation through wavelength division multiplexing is studied to identify practical interconnection networks scalable to 100 Gbits/s per path and a power consumption of the order of 20 mW/(Gbits/s) for a 64×64 size interconnection network.
© 2009 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: July 29, 2008
Revised Manuscript: December 18, 2008
Manuscript Accepted: December 19, 2008
Published: January 28, 2009
Optical Routers (2008) Journal of Optical Networking
Ian White, Eng Tin Aw, Kevin Williams, Haibo Wang, Adrian Wonfor, and Richard Penty, "Scalable optical switches for computing applications [Invited]," J. Opt. Netw. 8, 215-224 (2009)