Over the last few decades, network traffic has consistently grown at an exponential rate and was efficiently satisfied using WDM and more efficient coding schemes requiring coherent detection. There is no indication that the network traffic growth trend will cease anytime soon, and we are nearing the day when the capacity of the ubiquitous single-mode fiber will be fully exploited. Space-domain multiplexing (SDM) for high-capacity transmission is the promising solution with the scaling potential to meet future capacity demands. However, there is still a large technological gap between current WDM optical communication system designs and SDM network implementations. In this article we lay the foundation of switching node designs for future WDM-SDM optical networks.
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