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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: J. H. Eberly
  • Vol. 9, Iss. 8 — Oct. 8, 2001
  • pp: 400–410
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Optical hop number limits imposed by various 2×2 cross-connect node designs

Edward Mutafungwa  »View Author Affiliations


Optics Express, Vol. 9, Issue 8, pp. 400-410 (2001)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/OE.9.000400


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Abstract

The success of transparent optical transport networks depends on the availability of optical cross-connect nodes (OXNs) that induce minimal impairments on the signals they cross-connect. This should extend the possible coverage and flexibility of path restoration within a meshed network topology by raising the upper bound on the achievable optical hop (traversable OXNs) number. We provide a brief survey and categorization of the currently proposed OXNs. Furthermore, the possible limits they impose on the number of hops are established by a series of transmission performance simulations. Microoptic and all-fiber OXNs are identified to be suitable for networks with a low connectivity and channel count. In case larger OXNs are needed, then microoptic and integrated OXNs provide a better option. The results obtained are applicable as guidelines for the deployment of future optical ring topologies.

© Optical Society of America

1. Introduction

The future vision of optical transport networks is of a communication system capable of providing an optical-domain-based, format-independent grooming, routing and management of signals with distinct center frequencies (wavelengths) based on dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) transmission [1

1. H. Yoshimura, K. I. Sato, and N. Takachio, “Future photonic transport networks based on WDM technologies,” IEEE Commun. Mag. 37, 74–81 (1999). [CrossRef]

]. Among the benefits expected from such an implementation is the increased capacity utilization of the underlying fiber infrastructure and the improved flexibility of multiservice provisioning by network operators. This has motivated the development of standardized networking solutions based on the same principle. The notable examples being the Automatic Switched Optical Network (ASON) and Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) respectively. Crucial to the success of these optical networking proposals is the deployment of intelligent wavelength-selective optical cross connect nodes (OXNs) in the current incongruous networks [1

1. H. Yoshimura, K. I. Sato, and N. Takachio, “Future photonic transport networks based on WDM technologies,” IEEE Commun. Mag. 37, 74–81 (1999). [CrossRef]

, 2

2. T. Stern and K. Bala, “Multiwavelength optical networks: A layered approach,” Addisson-Wesley, Reading (1999).

Chapt. 4]. These OXNs introduce wavelength reconfigurability to the network thus creating the possibility of delivering bandwidth-on-demand, bandwidth trading, alleviation of network congestion and the non-disruptive scaling of the network. Moreover, wavelength-level management is also possible for monitoring the quality-of-service (QoS) integrity of existing connections and the rapid service restoration in the event of a fault in the network.

To achieve some of the goals outlined above, suggestions have been made [3

3. E. L. Goldstein, L. Y. Lin, and R. W. Tkach, “Multiwavelength opaque optical-crossconnect networks,” IEICE Trans. Electron E82-C, 1361–1370 (1999).

] for opaque optical networks that interrupt an optical signal’s progress along a path by applying periodic optical-to-electrical and electrical-to-optical (OEO) conversions. This enables operations such as fault isolation, performance monitoring, wavelength translation and 2R signal regeneration (using transponders as shown in Figure 1). Indeed, these operations can be easily carried out using commercially available electronic devices---akin to current SDH/SONET systems--- instead of optical components that are yet to achieve the maturity necessary for field applications. However, the introduction these opaque network elements translates into an increase in network deployment or upgrade costs, creation of bandwidth bottlenecks, accumulation of timing jitter and loss of flexibility in scaling the signal data rates.

Fig. 1. Excerpts of an (top) opaque optical network consisting of OXNs with in-built transponders and (bottom) transparent network with 5 optical hop path.

It is therefore of great interest (from the network operator’s point of view) to deploy OXNs, setting up transparent signal paths that are uninterrupted by OEO conversions as depicted in Figure 1. This depends on the availability of OXNs that are composed of feasible subsystems (building blocks) and impart insignificant impairments (e.g., attenuation, distortion, noise etc.) on the signals they cross-connect. The latter condition should enable a signal to traverse a large enough number of OXNs before any reshaping and re-timing of the signal becomes necessary. As a result, the upper limit on the number of optical hops (that is, traversable OXNs in the absence of transponders) H could be kept at a level that renders feasibility to all the paths ordered by the network’s routing algorithms. A wide range of OXNs has been reported (see [4

4. E. Iannone and R. Sabella, “Optical path technologies: A comparison among different crossconnect architectures”, J. Lightwave Tech. 14, 2184–2196 (1996). [CrossRef]

, 5

5. N. A. Jackman, S. H. Patel, B. P. Mikkelsen, and S. K. Korotky, “Optical cross connects for optical networking,” Bell Labs Technol. J. 4, 246–261 (1999).

] and references quoted therein), each one of them imposes their own limits on H depending on their architectural configurations and the extent to which they contribute to signal’s degradation [6

6. B. Ramamurthy, D. Datta, H. Feng, J. P. Heritage, and B. Murkherjee, “Impact of transmission impairments on the teletraffic performance of wavelength-routed optical networks,” J. Lightwave Tech. 17, 1713–1723 (1999). [CrossRef]

].

In this paper, we analyze the apparent limitation on H imposed by various fundamental or 2×2 (two input/output fiber port) OXNs. The reason being that the fundamental OXNs can be used as integral parts of a larger OXN [7

7. G. Wilfong, B. Mikkelsen, C. Doerr, and M. Zirngibl, “WDM cross-connect architectures with reduced complexity,” J. Lightwave Tech. 17, 1732–1741 (1999). [CrossRef]

] or as optical add-drop multiplexers (OADMs) in DWDM shared-protection rings (SPRINGs) [8

8. S. Chandrasekhar, H. K. Kim, C. R. Doerr, L. W. Stulz, and L. L. Buhl, “All-optical dual ring internetworking with wavelength selective 2×2 cross-connect,” Electron. Lett. 36, 238–239 (2000). [CrossRef]

]. Optical network architectures and wavelength routing techniques are reviewed briefly in Section 2. Various reported OXNs are summarized in Section 3 and an OXN categorization is proposed so as to ease their comparison. Section 4 describes the simulation and comparison of the transmission performance of different OXN designs.

2. Practical Network Topologies

The transition from current legacy networks to an all-encompassing optical network is dependent on the fulfillment of the following obligations: fault tolerance [9

9. S. Baroni, P. Bayvel, R. J. Gibbons, and S. K. Korotky, “Analysis and design of resilient multifiber wavelength-routed optical transport networks,” J. Lightwave Tech. 17, 743–758 (1999). [CrossRef]

], efficient resource allocation [10

10. M. Sinclair, “Minimum cost wavelength-path routing and wavelength allocation using a genetic-algorithm/ heuristic hybrid approach,” IEE Proc. Commun. 146, 1–7 (1999). [CrossRef]

] and improved transmission performance [6

6. B. Ramamurthy, D. Datta, H. Feng, J. P. Heritage, and B. Murkherjee, “Impact of transmission impairments on the teletraffic performance of wavelength-routed optical networks,” J. Lightwave Tech. 17, 1713–1723 (1999). [CrossRef]

, 11

11. R. Sabella, E. Iannone, M. Listanti, M. Berdusco, and S. Binetti, “Impact of transmission performance on path routing in all-optical transport networks,” J. Lightwave Tech. 16, 1965–1972 (1998). [CrossRef]

]. This points towards a need for an underlying physical meshed topology with the following favorable attributes [2

2. T. Stern and K. Bala, “Multiwavelength optical networks: A layered approach,” Addisson-Wesley, Reading (1999).

, Chapt. 6

6. B. Ramamurthy, D. Datta, H. Feng, J. P. Heritage, and B. Murkherjee, “Impact of transmission impairments on the teletraffic performance of wavelength-routed optical networks,” J. Lightwave Tech. 17, 1713–1723 (1999). [CrossRef]

]:

• Small diameter, that is, the maximum number of minimum hops between any node pair.

• Low overall mean hop number attained by maximizing physical connectivity or convergence towards the Moore bound.

• Upper limits on the node degree (incoming/outgoing links), thus reducing the complexity of the network switch designs.

3. Classification of OXNs

1. Integrated-Optic OXNs: Implemented using photonic integrated circuits (PICs) that reduce the optical interconnection costs of guided-wave OXN subsystems. This produces compact OXNs with miniaturized components that can—in some special cases—be co-located on a single chip (substrate). Silicon (Si) is one of the widely used substrates [14

14. A. Himeno, K. Kato, and T. Miya, “Silicon-based planar lightwave circuits,” IEEE J. Select. Topics Quantum Electron. 4, 913–924 (1998). [CrossRef]

], whereby optical signals are transported by silica waveguides etched on the Si substrate. Current examples include star couplers, Mach-Zehnder interferometric (MZI) thermo-optic switches, phase-shifters and arrayed-waveguide gratings (AWGs). It also possible to fabricate components by diffusing higher index waveguides on alternative electro-optic dielectric or III–V substrates, such as lithium niobate (LiNbO3) or indium phosphide (InP) [15].

2. All-Fiber OXNs: Utilizing components made from specialty fibers made by fusing, doping or radiating fiber waveguides. This enables them to perform functions in addition to the low-loss transfer of signals between two points. An obvious example is the erbium-doped fibers used for optical amplification [1

1. H. Yoshimura, K. I. Sato, and N. Takachio, “Future photonic transport networks based on WDM technologies,” IEEE Commun. Mag. 37, 74–81 (1999). [CrossRef]

]. Another specialty fiber that is gaining prominence in the field of optical networking is the fiber Bragg grating (FBG) [16

16. K. O. Hill and G. Meltz, “Fiber Bragg grating technology fundamentals and overview,” J. Lightwave Tech. 15, 1263–1276 (1997). [CrossRef]

]. They are made by inscribing gratings (index variations) on the core of the fiber using ultraviolet radiation, the grating period dictating the wavelength of the signal(s) reflected back by the FBG. Furthermore, the grating period can be varied by applying temperature variations, mechanical strain or magnetic-actuation, thus making the FBGs wavelength tunable [17

17. H. G. Limberger, A. Iocco, R.P. Salathe, L. A. Everall, K. E. Chisholm, and I. Bennion, “Wideband tunable fibre Bragg grating filters,” Proc. 25th European Conf. Optic. Commun. 1, 156–159 (1999).

].

3. Microoptic OXNs: Constitutes stand-alone or combined components that relay an optical beam by collimating, reflecting, shaping or diffracting the beam. The part of the component that interacts with the beam is made of materials in the form of solids (e.g., mirrors, glass prisms etc.), liquids (e.g., index matching oil etc.) or liquid crystals (oriented like crystals but with chaotic positional order like liquids).

A more specific listing of the proposed OXNs for each of the above categories is presented in Table 1. The OXNs H3-H5 are considered to be hybrid since it is assumed that they use non-fiber based multiplexers/demultiplexers. All the entries marked with an asterisk mean that the OXN has configuration different from the multiplexer-switch-demultiplexer configuration of Figure 1.

Table 1. The list of OXNs considered in the study

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4. Performance Analysis

Simulations are carried out using the photonic transmission design suite (PTDS version 1.3 by Virtual Photonics Inc.) running on a Windows™ NT platform [39

39. A. Lowery, O. Lenzmann, I. Koltchanov, R. Moosburger, R. Freund, A. Richter, S. Georgi, D. Breuer, and H. Hamster, “Multiple Signal Respresentation Simulation of Photonic Devices, System and Networks,” IEEE J. Select. Topics Quantum Electron. 6, 282–296 (2000). [CrossRef]

]. Within PTDS the components that make up the OXN subsystems are imitated by custom or user-defined modules based on their individual numerical models. Optical and electrical signals are represented as computer data that is exchanged between interconnected modules via a simulation environment adaptation layer. The response of a module to input signals is obtained by evaluating their numerical models (written as basic C++ code) in the optical network simulation layer.

4.1 Simulation Configuration

Fig. 2. Simulation configuration of OXN circulating loop captured in PTDS simulation environment.

In the above setup, all the intermediate OXNs have been configured to swap channels f 1, f 3 between the two incoming fibers whilst passing through channels f 2, f 4. Therefore, f 2 and f 4 traverse all the intermediate nodes whose total count is equivalent to number of re-circulation loop cycles (=H). The signal quality of f 2b or f 4b at the OXN output is analyzed after every loop cycle so as to monitor the QoS degradation at the end of each hop.

4.2 Modules and Simulation Parameters

An OXN is created by a synthesis of PTDS modules with adjustable parameters or if unavailable, user-defined modules tailored to approximate the behavior of a novel optical device. The modules used in the simulation and their respective parameters are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. The main modules and parameter values used in the simulations.

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After a particular simulation run the system performance is established by numerically evaluating the Q factor (electrical signal-to-noise ratio) using a Gaussian approximation method with an optimum threshold setting and a module for ideal clock recovery. Assuming that Ii and σi represent the photocurrent and noise variance respectively for a received bit i∊{0,1}, the Q factor is given by [11

11. R. Sabella, E. Iannone, M. Listanti, M. Berdusco, and S. Binetti, “Impact of transmission performance on path routing in all-optical transport networks,” J. Lightwave Tech. 16, 1965–1972 (1998). [CrossRef]

]

Q=I1I0σ1+σ0,
(1)

BER=exp(Q22)Q2π.
(2)

The Q factor can also be expressed in dB by Q factor dB=20log(Q).

4.3 Internal OXN Components

The OXNs considered here make use of a diverse range of technologies. We quote the parameters used in the design, testing and experimental demonstration of the OXNs, directly from their respective references listed in Table 1. Subsequent improvements in various OXN subsystems due to improved component designs are also considered so as to give a more up-to date status on the OXN transmission performance. These updated state-of-the-art designs include:

• Space division switches based on a dilated Benes network using four 2×2 switching elements to form a single 2×2 switch. Using this technique, the isolation of MZI (on InP) and Ti:LiNbO3 switches was improved by 20 dB [41

41. D. H. P. Maat, Y. C. Zhu, F. H. Groen, H. van Brug, H. J. Frankena, and X. J. M. LeijtensPolarization-independent dilated InP-based space switch with low crosstalk,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 12, 284–286 (2000). [CrossRef]

] and 10 [42

42. Y. Pan, C. Qiao, and Y. Yang, “Optical mulstistage interconnection networks: New chanllenges and approaches,” IEEE Commun. Mag. 37, 50–56 (1999). [CrossRef]

] respectively.

• All AWGs on Si are assumed to be adjusted to provide polarization independence and improved crosstalk isolation (<-40 dB) for a 100 GHz channel spacing [44

44. A. Kaneko, A. Sugita, and K. Okamoto, “Recent progress on arrayed waveguide gratings for DWDM applications,” IEICE Trans. Electron. E83-C, 860–868 (2000).

].

• All FBGs considered have an optimum apodized index change (55 dB isolation for 100 GHz spacing) and are designed in a two stage process that eliminates resonance occurring at the short-wavelength side of grating [45

45. A. Carballer, M. A. Muriel, and J. Azana, “Fiber grating filter for WDM systems: An improved design,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 11, 694–696 (1999). [CrossRef]

].

• Modified design of integrated acousto-optic switches that maintain the switched signal’s polarization and eliminates the need for anisotropy for the waveguide material [46

46. N. Goto and Y. Miyazaki, “Wavelength-division-multiplexing photonic switching system using integrated acoustooptic switches,” Japan. J. Appl. Phy.: Part 1 39, 3078–3082 (2000). [CrossRef]

].

• The polarization dependent loss of fiber acoustic optic switches made negligible (reduced by over 15 dB) by twisting the waist of the asymmetric coupler [47

47. D. O. Culverhouse, R. I. Laming, S. G. Farwell, T. A. Birks, and M. N. Zervas, “All Fiber 2×2 Polarization Insensitive Switch,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 9, 455–457 (1997). [CrossRef]

].

Unless stated otherwise in Table 1, the N×1 wavelength multiplexers are implemented using a total of N third order Bessel bandpass filters with distinct center frequencies, a default 3.0 dB insertion loss and passband of 40 GHz. The demultiplexers are also implemented using Bessel filters with similar specifications.

5. Simulation Results

The quality (Q factor) of f 2b after every subsequent hop via intermediate integrated (I1–I6) OXNs is shown in Figure 4a. Also included is Q factor for the same signal if no intermediate OXNs were present on the path (that is, if OXNs are perfectly ideal) thus only highlighting the signal degradations attributed to components outside the OXNs (mainly fiber impairments). In this case the boost amplifiers are not used and the preamplifiers are considered to be in-line amplifiers (1R repeaters). Additional results for all-fiber (F1–F4), microoptic (M1–M7) and hybrid (H1–H5) intermediate OXNs are depicted in Figures 4b to d respectively.

Fig. 4. Simulated Q factor of the f 2b signal and received via various (a) integrated (b) all-fiber (c) microoptic and (d) hybrid OXNs.

The best transmission performance attained in all cases (I1, F1, M3, and H5) is noted for OXNs that characterized by near ideal (specifically low loss and high crosstalk isolation) subsystems. Improvements in the isolation of InP-based MZI switches have meant that I5 is among the best performing integrated switch. All-fibers OXNs generally offer a satisfactory hop reach, unless they are compromised by components whose performance is far from ideal, such as the fiber PBSs used in F2 (see Figure 4b). Similar observations can be made for hybrid OXNs that makes use of both near ideal (FBGs) and far from ideal (opto-mechanical switches), as in H2 (see Figure 4d). However, alternative hybrid OXNs made of all-fiber switching techniques that do not involve FBGs (H3, H5) display adequate transmission performance. The microoptic OXNs based on novel switching techniques (M1, M3, M4, and M6) consistently outperform some of the earlier proposed designs (M2, M7) as depicted in Figure 4c.

Assuming that connections are automatically dropped or blocked if Q factor=15 dB (corresponding to a BER 10-9), the plot of Figure 5 indicates the number of achievable optical hops (i.e., traversable OXNs) for each 2×2 OXN type. All-fiber and microoptic demonstrate on average the best cascadability. However the alternative configuration of the former is such that their transmission performance deteriorates rapidly when the number of channels N λ or node degree Δ is increased. This is due to fact the number components OXN is also increased to accommodate the extra channels or fiber ports and each component is viewed as a potential cause of signal impairment. For instance, when N λ is increased from 4 to 80, an F3 2×2 OXN will need an additional 690 components to cross-connect the added channels. An M1 OXN of similar dimensions will only need 80 more components.

Fig. 5. Number of traversable OXNs assuming a Q factor requirement of 15.4 dB.

Therefore meshed optical networks with a high connectivity and channel counts might favor microoptic or integrated OXNs because of their relatively efficient scalability characteristics. Techniques for improving OXN scaleability have been proposed, this includes wavelength granularity (grouping wavelength channels with similar destinations [48

48. E. Ciaramella, “Introducing wavelength granularity to reduce the complexity of optical cross-connects,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 12, 699–701 (2000). [CrossRef]

]) and multistage OXN configurations [7

7. G. Wilfong, B. Mikkelsen, C. Doerr, and M. Zirngibl, “WDM cross-connect architectures with reduced complexity,” J. Lightwave Tech. 17, 1732–1741 (1999). [CrossRef]

].

6. Summary

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D. H. P. Maat, Y. C. Zhu, F. H. Groen, H. van Brug, H. J. Frankena, and X. J. M. LeijtensPolarization-independent dilated InP-based space switch with low crosstalk,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 12, 284–286 (2000). [CrossRef]

42.

Y. Pan, C. Qiao, and Y. Yang, “Optical mulstistage interconnection networks: New chanllenges and approaches,” IEEE Commun. Mag. 37, 50–56 (1999). [CrossRef]

43.

R. Kasahara, M. Yanagisawa, A. Sugita, T. Goh, M. Yasu, A. Himeno, and S. Matsui, “Low-power consumption silica-based 2×2 thermooptic switch using trenched silicon substrate,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 11, 1132–1134 (1999). [CrossRef]

44.

A. Kaneko, A. Sugita, and K. Okamoto, “Recent progress on arrayed waveguide gratings for DWDM applications,” IEICE Trans. Electron. E83-C, 860–868 (2000).

45.

A. Carballer, M. A. Muriel, and J. Azana, “Fiber grating filter for WDM systems: An improved design,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 11, 694–696 (1999). [CrossRef]

46.

N. Goto and Y. Miyazaki, “Wavelength-division-multiplexing photonic switching system using integrated acoustooptic switches,” Japan. J. Appl. Phy.: Part 1 39, 3078–3082 (2000). [CrossRef]

47.

D. O. Culverhouse, R. I. Laming, S. G. Farwell, T. A. Birks, and M. N. Zervas, “All Fiber 2×2 Polarization Insensitive Switch,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 9, 455–457 (1997). [CrossRef]

48.

E. Ciaramella, “Introducing wavelength granularity to reduce the complexity of optical cross-connects,” IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 12, 699–701 (2000). [CrossRef]

OCIS Codes
(060.4250) Fiber optics and optical communications : Networks
(060.4510) Fiber optics and optical communications : Optical communications

ToC Category:
Research Papers

History
Original Manuscript: August 29, 2001
Published: October 8, 2001

Citation
Edward Mutafungwa, "Optical hop number limits imposed by various 2 x 2 cross-connect node designs," Opt. Express 9, 400-410 (2001)
http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?URI=oe-9-8-400


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