Publication Details

This paper originally appeared as: Boustead, P & Chicharo, J, IP forwarding alternatives in cell switched optical networks, IEEE International Conference on Communications, 18-22 June 2000, vol 3, 1628-1632. Copyright IEEE 2000.


Optical switching will enable core Internet packet switching to scale with future transmission rate increases. Currently proposed optical ATM switches do not allow packet reassembly, which is necessary for packet level forwarding. This results in the requirement to create end to end ATM virtual connections for flows even if they contain only one packet. In electronically switched networks MPOA and MPLS allow both cell and packet level forwarding to overcome this problem. This paper examines the feasibility of implementing such protocols over an optically switched network. Two different architectures are examined: use of an adjunct electrical router; and native optical packet reassembly. An examination of the optical reassembly buffer requirements show that the use of MPLS will require significantly more buffering than MPOA.