optical switch

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optical switch

An all-optical fiber-optic switching device that maintains the signal as light from input to output. Traditional switches that connect optical fiber lines are electro-optic. They convert photons from the input side to electrons internally in order to do the switching and then convert back to photons on the output side.

Although some vendors call electro-optical switches "optical switches," true optical switches support all transmission speeds. Unlike electronic switches, which are tied to specific data rates and protocols, optical switches direct the incoming bitstream to the output port no matter what the line speed or protocol (IP, ATM, SONET) and do not have to be upgraded for any such changes. Optical switches may separate signals at different wavelengths and direct them to different ports.

Using tiny mirrors that reflect the input signal to the output port, MEMS technology is expected to be the prevailing method for building optical switches, also known as "photonic switches." There are various fabrication methods for building MEMS mirrors. See MEMS and transparent network.

MEMS-based Optical Switch
MEMS mirrors reflect the input signal to an output port without regard to line speed or protocol. This technology is expected to be the dominant method for building photonic switches.

MEMS Mirrors
An individual mirror in a MEMS-based switch can really fit through the proverbial "eye of a needle."
References in periodicals archive ?
First in the world to provide in- service, intelligent optical switches, Tellium's Aurora Optical Switch family and the StarNet Software Suite together offer service providers a simple and cost-effective migration path to next-generation public networks.
Managed as a single large distributed layer 2 switch, the performance of this optical switch is well suited to our systems.
Two systems -- the SX-1000 Ethernet Service Node and the PX-1000 Photonic Node -- constitute the NEBS-compliant EtherBurst optical switch.
The EtherBurst optical switch was designed to leverage the architectural advantages of OBS with its fully automated photonic layer affording plug-and-play deployment and operation in a resilient network that transparently accommodates volatile metro traffic patterns.
Glimmerglass' intelligent optical switch enables customers to automatically, remotely and instantly monitor and manage fiber optic connections in a wide range of applications.
Glimmerglass, a provider of automated fiber management solutions, announced today that the National Science Foundation-funded OptIPuter project has purchased its intelligent optical switch to cross-connect all single mode fiber connections in the OptIPuter 10Gb/s optical network backbone, connected to the National LambdaRail (NLR).
It includes a high-performance intelligent optical switch, fault-tolerant redundant power, and automatic connection monitoring, protection, and link restoration.

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