Wavelength switched optical network

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Wavelength Switched Optical Network with two established lightpaths

Wavelength switched optical network (WSON) is a type of telecommunications network.

A WSON consist of two planes: the data and the control planes. The data plane comprises wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) fiber links connecting optical cross-connect (OXCs) through a comb of several tens of wavelength channels, with typical data rates of 10 or 40 Gb/s. Optical end-to-end connections (i.e., lightpaths) are established in the optical domain and switched by OXCs at the wavelength granularity.[1]

In WSONs the optical signal is switched at the wavelength granularity, therefore the wavelength assignment process, selecting the carrier of each established lightpath, plays a crucial role in dynamic network operation.[2]

The dynamic provisioning and maintenance of lightpaths is managed by the control plane. The control plane is implemented on a separate network and typically employs one network controller for each node in the data plane, as shown in the figure. The Generalized Multi-Protocol Label Switching (GMPLS) protocol suite, the de facto standard control plane for WSONs proposed by the IETF, is composed of three protocols.[3]


  1. ^ G. M. Bernstein, Y. Lee, A. Galver, J. Martensson, “Modeling WDM wavelength switching systems for use in GMPLS and automated path computation,” IEEE/OSA J. Optical Comm. Netw., vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 187–195, Jun. 2009. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1364/JOCN.1.000187.
  2. ^ N. Sambo, N. Andriolli, A. Giorgetti, P. Castoldi, “Wavelength Preference in GMPLS-controlled Wavelength Switched Optical Networks,” Network Protocols and Algorithms, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 110–125, 2011. http://www.macrothink.org/journal/index.php/npa/article/view/819/704
  3. ^ A. Farrel and I. Bryskin, “GMPLS architecture and applications,” The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Networking, 2006.