Photonic packet switches: architectures and experimental implementations

Daniel J. Blumenthal, Paul R. Prucnal, Jon R. Sauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Photonic packet switches offer high speed, data rate and format transparency, and flexibility required by future computer communications and cell-based telecommunications networks. In this paper, we review experimental progress in state-of-the-art photonic packet switches with an emphasis on all-optical guided-wave systems. The term all-optical implies that the data portion of a packet remains in optical format from the source to the destination. While the data remain all-optical, both optical and optoelectronic techniques have been used to process packet routing functions based on extremely simple routing protocols. An overview of the design issues for all-optical photonic packet switching is given and contrasted with electronic packet switch implementations. Low-level functions that have been experimentally implemented include routing, contention resolution, synchronization, and header regeneration. System level demonstrations, including centralized photonic switching and distributed all-optical multihop networks, will be reviewed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1650-1667
Number of pages18
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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