April 12, 2017

From Scaling Disparities to Integrated Parallelism: A Decathlon for a Decade

  • Neilson D.
  • Winzer P.

Based on a variety of long-term network traffic data across different geographies and applications as well as long-term scaling trends of key information and communication technologies, we identify fundamental scaling disparities between technologies used to generate and process data and technologies used to transport data. These disparities could lead to the transport network falling behind its required capabilities by a factor of about four every five years. By 2024, we predict the need for 10-Tb/s optical interfaces working in 1-Pb/s optical transport systems. To satisfy these needs, multiplexing in both wavelength and space in the form of a WDM x SDM matrix will be required. We estimate the characteristics of such systems and outline their target specifications, which reveals the need for very significant research progress in multiple areas, from system and network architectures to digital signal processing to integrated arrayed device designs, in order to avoid an optical network capacity crunch.

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