Forthcoming capacity scaling requirements of optical networks and advances in optical fiber communications beyond the omnipresent single-mode fiber operating over the conventional band introduces new opportunities and challenges for exploiting the expanded spectral and spatial resources available for fiber-optic network designs. The spectral and spatial degrees of freedom introduce utilization tradeoffs that can be leveraged under different applications. After briefly reviewing the supporting network building elements (emerging fiber types, multiplexers, optical switches, and amplifiers), we consider networking scenarios such as intra/inter datacenter, terrestrial, undersea, and wireless 5G/6G hauling networks and identify the best utilization plan and key attributes that can be harnessed by the offered spectral and spatial degrees of freedom for each scenario and how optical switching can be employed therein for traffic management. Networks supporting these scenarios are experiencing tremendous traffic growth pushing their existing implementations to their physical capacity-distance limits. New network builds must offer significant capacity multipliers in an efficient and cost-effective manner, requiring new switching solutions for supporting the unabated traffic growths foreseen in the years to come. We discuss how space-division multiplexed networks can help address this challenge in key communication scenarios.
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© 1963-2012 IEEE.
- Datacenter networks
- multiband communication
- optical fiber communication
- optical interconnections
- space-division multiplexing (SDM)