Promising faster, more efficient and cheaper computer networking, transparent networks are the paradigm of the future. But thanks to European researchers, they are on their way already.
Transparent networks are all-optical systems data transport systems. Touted as the solution to future networking needs, they nonetheless present a difficult technical challenge.
To make the network truly transparent, it must be optical throughout the transmission, from end to end. That raises many tricky conversion issues as the network changes speed and wavelength, to mention just two of the variables. This requires new photonic technology, primarily optical switches, capable of tying heterogonous network elements together.
The envisaged future scenario of the TRIUMPH project (http://www.ihq.uni-karlsruhe.de/research/projects/TRIUMPH/) posits transparent connectivity between core/regional-metro rings supporting data rates up to 160 gigabytes per second (Gbit/s) and metro-access rings supporting up to 40 gigabytes per second. Considered until recently to be a future networking technology, their feasibility has already been shown thanks to the work of the TRIUMPH project. Continue reading.