Overview of AAPN's objectives

AAPN's technology vision embraces all of the essential elements that are required to realize all-photonic networks of the future. Current telecommunication networks already exploit the power of light for signal transmission via the movement of photons over fibre. However, pulses of light, originating in electrical commands by users, are currently converted back into electrical signals at various stages in the communication process, notably during switching and also during the regeneration of the signals at specific points during long-haul transmission which is necessary to maintain the integrity of a signal. These optical-electronic conversions add greatly to the costs of network operation, require large amounts of power, and limit scalability - in essence, they are bottlenecks in today's optical communications networks.

The prospect of an all-photonic network which limits electronics technology to network access points only is a widely recognized and sought-after objective within the global telecommunications industry.

Any practical paradigm for achieving this vision contains the following key ingredients: agility, that is, the ability to perform time domain multiplexing to dynamically allocate bandwidth to traffic flows as the demand varies; control and routing functionality concentrated at the edge switches that surround the photonic core, and; rapidly reconfigurable all-photonic space-switching in the core. We refer to such networks as Agile All-Photonic Networks (AAPNs).