Optical Packet Switching

  • Carla RaffaelliEmail author
  • Slavisa Aleksic
  • Franco Callegati
  • Walter Cerroni
  • Guido Maier
  • Achille Pattavina
  • Michele Savi
Part of the Computer Communications and Networks book series (CCN)


This chapter provides an outline of the main concepts and issues related to optical packet switching (OPS). The basic network functions required by this paradigm are discussed and references to past and current research on the topic are provided. Optical packet switching is a transport technique that assumes information to be organized in packets formed by a payload and a header both encoded as optical signals. The payload is transferred through the network without any optical to electronic conversion. The header is processed in the early phase in the electronic domain. Optical packet switching may be considered as a long-term and more flexible alternative to the circuit-switched optical networks currently being deployed by operators. This innovative paradigm aims at optimizing the utilization of the dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) channels by means of fast and highly dynamic resource allocation, overcoming the inefficiency typical of the circuit transfer modes. Traditionally, packet transfer modes have proved to be very flexible by nature, with respect to bandwidth exploitation. In fact, link capacity is shared in time by means of statistical multiplexing, while contentions occurring at each node are solved by storing packets as long as the required resources become available again. Therefore, network links are in general used more efficiently in OPS than in circuit-switching.


Semiconductor Optical Amplifier Wavelength Conversion Wavelength Converter Optical Packet Output Fiber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Raffaelli
    • 1
    Email author
  • Slavisa Aleksic
    • 2
  • Franco Callegati
    • 3
  • Walter Cerroni
    • 1
  • Guido Maier
    • 4
  • Achille Pattavina
    • 4
  • Michele Savi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electronics, Computer Science and SystemsUniversit di BolognaItaly
  2. 2.Institute of Communication NetworksVienna University of TechnologyAustria
  3. 3.Department of Electronics, Computer Science and SystemsAlma Mater Studiorum – Università di BolognaItaly
  4. 4.Department of Electronics and InformationPolitecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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