Optical network democratization

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The current Internet infrastructure is not able to support independent evolution and innovation at physical and network layer functionalities, protocols, and services, while at same time supporting the increasing bandwidth demands of evolving and heterogeneous applications. This paper addresses this problem by proposing a completely democratized optical network infrastructure. It introduces the novel concepts of optical white box and bare metal optical switch as key technology enablers for democratizing optical networks. These are programmable optical switches that their hardware is loosely connected internally and completely separated from their control software. To alleviate their complexity, a multidimensional abstraction mechanism utilising software
defined network technology is proposed. It creates a universal model of the proposed switches without exposing their technological details. It also enables
a conventional network programmer to develop network applications for control of the optical network without specific technical knowledge of the physical layer. Furthermore, a novel optical network virtualization mechanism is proposed, enabling composition and operation of multiple co-existing and application
specific virtual optical networks sharing the same physical infrastructure. Finally, the optical white box and the abstraction mechanism are experimentally
evaluated, while the virtualization mechanism is evaluated with simulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20140443
Number of pages16
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
Issue number2062
Early online date25 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016


  • Infrastructure Democratization
  • Optical Network
  • Optical White Box
  • Software Defined Optical Network


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