The role of switching in reducing the number of electronic ports in WDM networks

Randall A. Berry*, Eytan Modiano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We consider the role of switching in minimizing the number of electronic ports [e.g., synchronous optical network (SONET) add/drop multiplexers] in an optical network that carries subwavelength traffic. Providing nodes with the ability to switch traffic between wavelengths, such as through the use of SONET cross-connects, can reduce the required number of electronic ports. We show that only limited switching ability is needed for significant reductions in the number of ports. First, we consider architectures where certain "hub" nodes can switch traffic between wavelengths and other nodes have no switching capability. For such architectures, we provide a lower bound on the number of electronic ports that is a function of the number of hub nodes. We show that our lower bound is relatively tight by providing routing and grooming algorithms that nearly achieve the bound. For uniform traffic, we show that the number of electronic ports is nearly minimized when the number of hub nodes used is equal to the number of wavelengths of traffic generated by each node. Next, we consider architectures where the switching ability is distributed throughout the network. Such architectures are shown to require a similar number of ports as the hub architectures, but with a significantly smaller "switching cost." We give an algorithm for designing such architectures and characterize a class of topologies, where the minimum number of ports is used. Finally, we provide a general upper bound on the amount of switching required in the network. For uniform traffic, our bound shows that as the size of the network increases, each traffic stream must be switched at most once in order to achieve the minimum port count.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1396-1405
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Optical networks
  • Synchronous optical network (SONET)
  • Traffic grooming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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