Scalable optical switches for computing applications [Invited]

Ian White, Aw Eng Tin, Kevin Williams, Haibo Wang, Adrian Wonfor, Richard Penty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (SciVal)


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 X 64 size interconnection network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-224
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Optical Networking
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Scalable optical switches for computing applications [Invited]'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this