Photonic Network Communications

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 89–103 | Cite as

Optical packet switch with energy-efficient hybrid optical/electronic buffering for data center and HPC networks

  • Jingyan Wang
  • Conor McArdle
  • Liam P. Barry


Advanced optical switching architectures, capable of scaling to thousands of ports while achieving low communication latency and reduced power consumption, are becoming a dominant theme for interconnection networks in next-generation data centers and high-performance computing systems. The arrayed waveguide grating (AWG) device, with its inherent ability to perform wavelength routing of many wavelengths in parallel, has been recognized as a promising core component for fast optical switching. Although the AWG is energy efficient (as essentially a passive optical device), has high-bandwidth switching capabilities and has relative simplicity and low cost, an inherent characteristic of switching schemes based on the AWG is potential wavelength oversubscription at switch output ports, which can lead to high packet blocking probabilities. To resolve this traffic congestion, this paper proposes a hybrid optical/electronic buffering scheme and a method for efficiently integrating fiber delay line buffer capacity into the AWG wavelength assignment scheme. The dimensioning of the optical and electronic buffer resources is then carried out using simulations. The results indicate that with the proper dimensioning, the hybrid-buffered AWG switch achieves significantly increased overall energy efficiency, compared to electronic-only buffering, while maintaining low latency and non-blocking performance. We also investigate the computational complexity of the required scheduling algorithm in the hybrid-buffered switch, which in turn allows us to estimate the required processing power of the switch controller.


Data center interconnection network Optical packet switching (OPS) Fiber delay lines (FDLs) Energy-efficient networking Computational time 



This work was supported by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET) and IBM Ireland.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Networks and Communications Engineering, School of Electronic EngineeringDublin City UniversityDublinIreland

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