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Seminar 2006 Optical Burst Switching 1



Department of Electronics and Communication VJEC,Chemperi 1

Seminar 2006 Optical Burst Switching 2













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Optical Burst Switching is a promising hybrid approach between coarse
grain optical circuit switching and fine grain optical packet switching.
burst switching (OBS) is proposed as a way to streamline both protocol and
hardware in building the future generation Optical Internet. Byleveraging the
attractive properties of optical communications and at the same time, taking
into account its limitations, OBS combines the best of optical circuit switching
and packet/cell switching. In this paper, the general concept of OBS protocols
and in particular, those...

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optical burst switching OBS is a switching concept which lies between optical
circuit switching and optical packet switching. Firstly, a dynamic optical network
is provided by the interconnection of optical cross connects. These optical cross
connects (OXC) usually consist switches based on 2D or 3D Micro electro
Mechanical mirrorsMEMS which reflect light coming into the switch at an
incoming port to a particular outgoing port. The granularity of this type of
switching is at a fibre, waveband (a band of wavelengths) or at a wavelength
level. The finest granularity offered by an OXC is at a wavelength level.
Therefore this type of switching is appropriate for provisioning light paths from
one node to another for different clients/ services e.g. SDH (Synchronous Digital
Hierarchy) circuits.

At present optical burst switching is an area that is attracting a lot of attention

and is a potential method by which future optical networks may use the available
optical resources more effectively. However, several issues still need to be
addressed before optical burst switching can enter service in a real optical
network. In particular, the technological demands and restrictions of electronic
and optical components have to be considered with regard to an application in
optical burst switched networks as well as assessment of the architectural and
economic aspects of implementing optical burst switching.

Optical Burst Switching operates at the sub-wavelength level and is designed to

better improve the utilisation of wavelenghts by rapid setup and teardown of the
wavelength/lightpath for incoming bursts. In OBS, incoming traffic from clients
at the edge of the network are aggregated at the ingress of the network according
to a particular parameter (commonly destination). These packets can also be
aggregated according to quality of service (QoS). Therefore at the OBS edge
router, different queues represent the various destinations of class of service.
Therefore based on the assembly/aggregation algorithm, packets are assembled

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into bursts using either a time based or threshold based aggregation algorithm. In
some implementations, Aggregation is based on a Hybrid of Timer and
Threshold. From the aggregation of packets, a burst is created and this is the
granularity that is handled in OBS.

Also important about OBS is the fact that the required electrical processing is
decoupled from the Optical process. Therefore the burst header generated at the
edge of the network is sent on a separate control channel which could be a
separate control wavelength. At each switch the control channel is converted to
the electrical domain for the electrical processing of the header information. The
header information precedes the burst by a set amount known as an offset time.
Therefore giving enough time for the switch resources to be made available prior
to the arrival of the burst.

Optical burst switching has many flavours determined by the current available
technologies such as the switching speed of available core optical switches. Most
optical cross connects have switching times or the order of milliseconds but
require tens of milliseconds to set up the switch and perform switching.
Therefore, OBS utilising this type of switching cannot rely on the one way
signalling concept as defined by Just-In-Time (JIT) and Just-Enough-Time

The initial phase of introducing optical burst switching would be: after
burstification process, based on a forwarding table bursts of a particular
destination are mapped to a wavelength. As the burst requests a path across the
network, the request is sent on the control channel, at each switch, if it is possible
to switch for the wavelength, the path is set up and an acknowledge signal is sent
back to the ingress. The burst is then transmitted. Under this concept, the burst is
held electronically at the edge and the bandwidth and path is guaranteed prior to
transmission. This reduces the amount of bursts dropped. The effects of dropping
bursts can be detrimental to a network as each burst is an amalgamation of IP

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packets which could be carrying keepalive messages between IP routers. If lost,

the IP router would be forced to retransmit and reconverge.

Under the GMPLS control plane, forwarding tables are used to map the bursts
and the MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) base 'PATH' and 'RESV' signals
are used for requesting a path and confirming it is set up. This is a two way
signalling process which can be inefficient in terms of network utilisation.
However for increasingly bursty traffic, the conventional OBS is the preferred

Under this conventional OBS, a one way signalling concept as mentioned

previously is used. The idea is to hold the burst at the edge for an offset period
while the control header traverses across the network setting up the switches, the
burst follows immediately without confirmation of burst setup. There is an
increased likelihood for bursts to be dropped but contention resolution
mechanisms can be used to ensure alternative resources are made available to the
burst if the switch is blocked ( being used by another burst for the incoming or
outgoing switch port). An example contention resolution solution is deflection
routing, where blocked bursts are routed to alternative port until the required port
becomes available. This requires optical buffering which is implemented mainly
by fibre delay lines.

One way signalling makes more efficient use of the network and the burst
probability of blocking can be reduced by increasing the offset time, thereby
increasing the likely hood of switch resources being available for burst.

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Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

It is the technology of the very small, and merges at the nanoscale into
"Nanoelectromechanical Systems" (NEMS) and Nanotechnology. In Europe,
MEMS are often referred to as Micro Systems Technology (MST). It should not
be confused with the hypothetical vision of Molecular nanotechnology or
Molecular Electronics. These devices generally range in size from a micrometer
(a millionth of a meter) to a millimeter (thousandth of a meter). At these size
scales, a human's intuitive sense of physics do not always hold true. Due to
MEMS' large surface area to volume ratio, surface effects such as electrostatics
and wetting dominate volume effects such as inertia or thermal mass. They are
fabricated using modified silicon fabrication technology (used to make
electronics), molding and plating, wet etching (KOH, TMAH) and dry etching
(RIE and DRIE), electro discharge machining (EDM), and other technologies
capable of manufacturing very small devices. MEMS sometimes go by the
names micromechanics, micro machines, or micro system technology (MST).

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A network switch (or just switch) is a networking device that performs

transparent bridging (connection of multiple network segments with forwarding
based on MAC addresses) at full wire speed in hardware. The use of specially
designed hardware also makes it possible to have large numbers of ports (unlike
a PC based bridge which is very limited by expansion slot count).

A switch can connect Ethernet, Token Ring, Fibre Channel or other types of
packet switched network segments together to form a heterogeneous network
operating at OSI Layer 2 (though there may be complications caused by the
different MTUs of the standards).

As a frame comes into a switch, the switch saves the originating MAC address
and the originating (hardware) port in the switch's MAC address table. This table
often uses content-addressable memory, so it is sometimes called the "CAM
table". The switch then selectively transmits the frame from specific ports based
on the frame's destination MAC address and previous entries in the MAC
address table. If the destination MAC address is unknown, for instance, a
broadcast address or (for simpler switches) a multicast address, the switch simply
transmits the frame out of all of the connected interfaces except the incoming
port. If the destination MAC address is known, the frame is forwarded only to
the corresponding port in the MAC address table. If the destination port is the
same as the originating port, the frame is filtered out and not forwarded.

Switches, unlike hubs, use microsegmentation to create collision domains, one

per connected segment. This way, only the NICs which are directly connected
via a point-to-point link, or directly connected hubs are contending for the

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medium. If the switch and the equipment (other than a hub) it connects to
support full-duplex then the collision domain is eliminated entirely.

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Optical burst switching is based on the separation of the control plane and the
data plane. In optical burst switching data packets are aggregated into much
larger bursts before transmission through the network. This allows amortization
of the switching overhead across multiple packets.

The burst is preceded in time by a control packet, which is sent on a separate

control wavelength and requests resource allocation at each switch. When the
control packet arrives at a core cross-connect (or switch) capacity is reserved in
the cross-connect for the burst. If the required capacity can be reserved the burst
can pass through the cross connect.

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WDM is a method of transmitting data from different sources over the same
fiber-optic link at the same time; each data channel is carried on its own unique
wavelength. The result is a link with an aggregate bandwidth that increases with
the number of wavelengths employed. In this way, WDM technology can
maximize the use of the available fiber-optic infrastructure – what would
normally require two or more fiber links will now require only one.

WDM technologies primarily differ in the number of available channels. Coarse

wave division multiplexing (CWDM) combines as many as 16 wavelengths onto
a single fiber; dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) combines as many as
64 wavelengths onto a single fiber.

With DWDM technology, the wavelengths are closer together than CWDM,
meaning that transponders are generally more complex and expensive than
CWDM. However, with DWDM, the advantage is a much higher density of
wavelengths, and also longer distance. DWDM is emerging as a preferred
solution for providing scalable and efficient optical networking technologies of
the future.

The key objective of the hardware-based OBS protocol implementation is to

dynamically manage commercially available WDM switches. An OBS network
comprises OBS network controllers and clients with OBS network interface
cards (NICs). OBS network controllers direct the optical data bursts received
from a source-client OBS NIC to a destination-client OBS NIC.

Advances in Xilinx FPGA technology have made it possible for the MCNC-RDI
to build a NIC that implements the JIT signaling protocol for an OBS network.
The OBS NIC uses DWDM technology to transmit and receive data optically on
specific wavelengths and is capable of handling data rates as high as 1.25 Gbps.

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The NIC card can be tuned dynamically to as many as eight different DWDM

In the JIT protocol, a control packet reserves a wavelength channel in the

network for a period of time L equal to the burst length, starting at the expected
arrival time R (this can be adjusted by the number of hops that a burst needs to
travel and the processing time at each intermediate node).

If the reservation is successful, the control packet adjusts the offset time for the
next hop and forwards it on. If the reservation is not successful, the burst will be
blocked and the packet will be discarded. Because JIT is a one-way reservation
protocol, buffering does not occur at the node level, thus reducing any latency.
Implementation of JIT with an efficient scheduling algorithm can further
decrease the probability of burst loss.

in optical packet-type WDM networks, the basic data block to be transferred is a

super packet, called burst, which is a collectionof data packets having the same
network egress address and some common attributes, like QoS requirements. A
blockdiagram of an optical burst-switched (OBS) network is shown in

Fig. 1,

Figer 1 An optical burst-

switched network.

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Which consists of optical core routers and electronic edge routers connected by
WDM links. Packets are assembled into bursts at network ingress, which are then
routed through the OBS network and disassembled back into packets at network
Egress to be forwarded to their next hops (e.g., conventionally routers). Edge
routers provide burst assembly/disassembly Functions and legacy interfaces
(e.g., gigabit Ethernet, packet Over SONET (PoS), IP/ATM, etc.). A core router
is mainly composed of an optical switching matrix and a switch control unit
(SCU). A burst consists of a burst header and a burst payload. The Burst payload
is also called data burst in this paper. For the Optical burst switching (OBS)
considered here, a data burst (Payload) and its header are transmitted separately
on different Wavelengths/channels with the burst header slightly ahead in Time
(see Fig. 2), and arswitched in optical and electronic domains, respectively, at
each core router they traverse. The burst header contains all the necessary
routing information to beused by the switch control unit (SCU) at each hop to
configure the optical switching matrix to switch the data burst optically(see Fig.
3). The separate transmission and switching of data bursts and their headers will
help to facilitate the electronic processing of headers and lower the opt electronic
processing capacity required at core routers. Further, it can provide
ingress-to-egress transparent optical paths for transporting data Bursts.


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Optical Bur

Service Differentiation

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Fig. 3. Illustration of burst transmission in an OBS network.

. As the burst header is sent in the form of a packet, it is Called burst header
packet (BHP) hereafter. Similar to packet Switching, both connectionless and
connection-oriented burst Forwarding could be used in the OBS.Throughout the
paper, we use channel to represent a certain unidirectional transmission capacity
(in bits per second) between Two adjacent routers. A channel may consist of one
wavelength Or a portion of a wavelength, in case of time-division or Code-
division multiplexing. Channels carrying data bursts are called data channels,
and channels carrying BHPs and other Control packets are called control
channels (see Fig. 3). Control Packets are used to exchange routing and network
information. A channel group is a set of channels with a common type and Node
adjacency. A WDM link in Fig. 1 represents a total transmission Capacity
between two routers, which usually consists of a data channel group (DCG) and
a control channel group (CCG) In each direction. The channels of a DCG as well
as its corresponding CCG could be physically carried on the same fiber or On
different fibers. In the following, we use channel and wavelength
Interchangeably. An example of the transmission of bursts on a WDM link is
shown in Fig. 2, where the WDM link has one DCG composed Of two channels
and one CCG composed of only one channel. There is an offset time between a
data burst and its BHP. The Initial value of the burst offset-time is set by ingress
Edge router, which may be the same for all bursts or may be different From burst

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to burst. The function of the burst offset-time Depends on the design of optical
core routers. For optical core Routers using input FDLs (fiber delay lines) to
delay the arrivals of data bursts to the optical switching matrix, thus allowing the
SCU to have sufficient time to process their BHPs, the main Function of the
offset time is to resolve BHP contentions on outgoing CCGs of optical core
routers [7]. For optical core routers Without input FDLs, the offset time should
also allow the SCU At each hop along the path to have enough time to process
the BHP before its associated data burst arrives. In the latter case, The burst
offset-time would be proportional to the number of Hops the burst will traverse
in the OBS network [6], [8], and is Much larger than the offset time in the former
case. In both cases, the traffic condition in the network should be taken into
account In choosing the offset time. The burst offset-time could also be adjusted
to support QoS [12], and may play an important role in Traffic
scheduling/management for optical core routers without Buffer or with buffer of
very limited storage capacity. To simplify the design of the SCU, in particular,
the channel scheduling, optical core routers with input FDLs are considered
In this paper. To have the burst offset-time well under control Within the OBS
network, at each hop the burst traverses, the core Router tries to “resynchronize”
each BHP and its associated data burst by keeping the offset time as close as
possible to, but
No less than. The typical value of is zero, meaning a BHP should be sent out no
later than its associated data burst. Due to the input FDLs at core routers, it is not
always necessary To restrict to nonnegative values, as a BHP may be behind The
data burst at one node but could catch up at the next node. An example of the
data burst format is shown in Fig. 4. Each Packet is delineated within the actual
payload by a frame header (H). The header of the actual payload includes
payload type Fig. 4.

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Fig. 4. An example of the data

burst format at layers 2 and 1.

An example of the data burst format at layers 2 and 1. (PT), payload length (PL),
number of packets (NOP), and the Offset of padding. PT is an option indicating
the type of data Packets in the data burst. PL indicates the length of the payload
in bytes. NOP specifies the number of packets in the payload. The offset
indicates the first byte of padding. Padding may be required if a minimum burst
length is imposed. In Fig. 4, the Synchronization pattern in layer 1 is used to
synchronize the Optical receiver at the egress edge router. The guard band at the
Beginning (preamble) and end (postamble) of a data burst help To overcome the
uncertainty of data burst arrival and data burst Duration due to clock drifts
between nodes, the delay variation In different wavelengths, mismatch between
data burst arrival Time and slotted optical switching matrix configuration time,
And no deterministic optical matrix configuration times. Other Optical layer
information (OLI) such as performance monitoring And forward error correction
could also be included.
Like the packet header in conventional packet-switched networks,the BHP
contains the necessary routing information to be used by core routers to route the
associated data burst hop by hop to its destination edge router. Apart from the
routing information carried by the conventional packet header, e.g., in IPv4,
IPv6, or MPLS-like [19], the BHP contains OBS specific information

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as its payload which includes burst offset-time, data burst duration/length, data
channel carrying the burst, the bit rate at which the data burst is sent, and QoS,
among others. Various layer 1 (L1) and layer 2 (L2) technologies can be used for
Control channels. One example is Packet over SONET [20]. Except for the
separate transmission of headers and payloads
And being switched in different domains, there is no fundamental difference
between packet switching and the OBS.
However, in the OBS, a burst header must explicitly reserve the Switching
resources in advance at each hop along the path for
its burst payload, while in store-and-forward packet switching, the reservation of
switching resources is made implicitly, i.e., when a packet is sent out from an
electronic buffer. The link utilization of the OBS network will largely depend
on the number of channels dedicated to transmitting BHPs (as well as other
control packets) and the guards in each data burst.
Consider a WDM link having channels with control channels and data channels, .
Suppose the data channel rate is Gb/s and the control channel rate is Gb/s. The
maximum link utilization. For, and, . As a data burst can be sent out on a data
channel only if its BHP can be sent out on a control channel, there is a minimum
requirement for the average Data burst length in order to prevent congestion on
control channels [9]. Since we will often deal with time domain issues in the
OBS, it is convenient to use time duration instead of bytes

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One requirement of the optical switch is that it needs to decide which input has
to be connected
to which output. This decision is typically made in electronic routers by reading
the header of the input packet. However, packet header cannot be read in the
optical domain. Further, electronic switches store packets in their buffers and
forward them on the appropriate outputs. But no such buffers can be made in an
optical router as no Optical RAMS are available. Fibre delay lines (FDLs) try to
emulate a RAM but these are expensive for commercial use and also may not
scale well. Due to the above differences optical routers become very different
from electronic ones.
Developing the optical network not only means increasing the bandwidth ,it
also means that the network should be capable of providing some scalable
quality of service(QoS).Though several concepts have been suggested in this
regard the optical burst switching stands out to be the prominent one.

The general architecture of an optical core routeris shown in Fig. 5,

Fig. 5. A general architecture of optical routers.

which mainly consists of input FDLs (fiberdelay lines), an optical switching

matrix, a switch control unit(SCU), and routing and signaling processors. Data

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channels reconnected to the optical switching matrix and control channels are
terminated at the SCU. Channel mapping logically decouples the channels from
physical fibers wavelengths. The (fixed) inputFDLs, if provided, are used to
delay the arriving data bursts, thus allowing the SCU to have enough time to
process the associated
BHPs. Data bursts still remain in the form of optical signals in the core routers.
The optical buffers of FDLs are used to resolve
data burst contentions on outgoing DCGs (data channel groups).The use of
electronic buffers instead of FDL optical buffers was considered in [7]. Note that
there are J incoming DCGs andJ outgoing DCGs in Fig. 5. A typical example of
the general architecture is a symmetric router with input and output fibers, where
each fiber has one DCG of channels and
oneCCG (control channel group) of channels. Fig. 6. Block diagram of a no
blocking (symmetric) optical switching matrix.

Fig. 6. Block diagram of a nonblocking (symmetric) optical switching matrix.

Various optical switching matrices, e.g., the broadcast-andselecttype switch

described in [4] and the switching fabrics proposed in [1]–[3], could be used in
Fig. 5. Advanced optical technologies, implementation complexity, cost, and
switch performance
(e.g., burst loss ratio) will certainly have impact on the design of the optical
switching matrix. Here we consider an ideal no blocking optical switching matrix
with output queuing. Block diagram of an no blocking optical switching matrix

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is given in Fig. 6 where the spatial switch is able to switch data burst from any
incoming wavelength/channel to any FDL
as long as it does not overlap with other data bursts. Each optical buffer has
WDM FDLs with th FDL being able to delay time, , and it is assumed that .Note
that an FDL in Fig. 6 has wavelengths. By default there is always an FDL with
zero delay time, denoted by 0 with An example of the optical switching matrix is
shown in Fig. 7 where.

The function of the SCU in Fig. 5 is similar to a conventional electronic router.

The routing processor runs routing and other Control protocols for the whole
OBS network. It creates and maintains a routing table and computes the
forwarding table for the SCU. Forwarding can be connectionless or connection-
oriented (prior path establishment through signaling). After
Forwarding table lookup, the SCU decides on which outgoing and CCG to
forward each arriving data burst and its BHP.
If there are free data and control channels available from these groups, either
when the data burst arrives to the optical switching Matrix or after some delay in
an FDL buffer, the SCU will then select the FDL of the optical buffer and
configure the optical Switching matrix to let the data burst pass through.
Otherwise, the data burst is dropped. In arranging the transfer of a data burst
andits corresponding BHP in the optical switching matrix and SCU,respectively,
the SCU tries to resynchronize the data burst and
the BHP by keeping the offset time as close as possible to .If a data burst enters
the optical switching matrix before itsBHP has been processed (this phenomenon
is called early burst arrivals), the burst is simply “dropped.” This is because data
bursts are optical analog signals. If no path is set up when a data burst enters the
optical switching matrix, it is lost. Since a BHP and its data burst are switched in
the SCU and the optical switching matrix, respectively, the delay introduced by
the Input FDL should be properly engineered such that under the normal traffic
condition data bursts are rarely dropped due to Early arrivals

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Optical Switching Techniques 1. Optical Circuit Switching

A circuit switched network has to have a dedicated wavelength path for the
duration of its connection. In order for a circuit switched network to operate, a
circuit is defined from the start of the connection to the end This circuit is then
reserved for this connection only, but becomes available once the connection is


Referring to figure I, if a connection between points A and B is required, then a

circuit is setup via SI, S3, S4 and S5. Other routes are possible allowing for

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resilience, and it should be noted that the links between the switches might
consist of more than one circuit to allow multiple circuits to be set up

Call request
processing Delay.


Ack Signal

Circuit Switching Signaling

2. Optical Packet SwitchingPacket switching, in computer networking and

telecommunications, is the now-dominant communications paradigm in which
packets (units of information carriage) are routed between nodes over data links
shared with other traffic. This contrasts with the other principal paradigm, circuit
switching, which sets up a dedicated connection between the two nodes for their
exclusive use for the duration of the communication. Packet switching is used to
optimize the use of the bandwidth available in a network, to minimize the
transmission latency (i.e. the time it takes for data to pass across the network),
and to increase robustness of communication.

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Packet switching works by sending the packets of information along the

appropriate route.
The router decides the appropriate route when the packet arrives. In Packet
each packet (a piece of data) contains a additional information in it (header),
rather like
the address on an envelope, and each switch in the network (usually called
routers) looks
at this information and directs it onward accordingly. As an example imagine
being sent from point C in Figure 3, and its destination is D. A packet of
leaves C and is directed by Rl onto R3, R3 then directs the packet to R4 and then
onto D.
However, it may not always occur like this. Perhaps during the transfer the link
111 and R3 experiences a slow connection or is lost, Rl would then start sending
packets to R2, R2 would then send it to R5, and so on.
A main feature of packet switching is store and forward. Meaning that a packet
needs to
be completely assembled and received by a source and each intermediate node
before it
can be forwarded. This will let the packet experience a delay proportional to
Lp ,the length of a
packet at each node and will make necessary the existence of a buffer at each
node of the network, with a size of at least Smax. Here Smax is the maximum
value of Lp.

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Ftgurc3. Packet switching Network

Another method, which tries to absorb the advantages of both the

above methods, is Optical Burst switching, which is described in
the next section.

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In Optical Burst Switching, a control packet is sent first, followed by a burst

of data without waiting for an acknowledgment for the connection
establishment, this is called a one way reservation protocol. The main feature
of OBS, is to switch a whole burst of packet whose length can range from
one to several packets to a session using one control packet, and resulting in
a lower control overhead per data unit. OBS uses out of band signaling, and
the control packet and the data burst are loosely coupled in time. Meaning
that they are separated at the source by an offset time, which is larger than
the total processing tiine of the control packet along the path. In consequence
this eliminates the need for the data burst to be bufTered at any subsequent
intermediate node just to wail for the control packet to get process


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Optical burst Switching nodes

In OBS, the wavelength of a link used by the burst will be released as soon
as the burst passes through the link, either automatically according to the
reservation made or by an explicit release packet. This means that bursts
from different sources to different destinations can effectively utilize the
bandwidth of the same wavelength on a link in time-shared statistical
multiplexed manner. In case the control packet fails to reserve the
wavelength at an intermediate node, the burst is not rerouted, it is dropped.
OBS protocols are not all the same; some of them support a reliable burst
transmission, which has a negative acknowledgment that is sent back to the
source node, which retransmits the control packet and the burst after that.
Other OBS protocols are not reliable and don't have such negative

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Circuit switching is good for smooth traffic and QoS guarantee due to a fixed
bandwidth reservation. One problem with this kind of routing is that if the traffic
on that path is burst, the path still has to be kept reserved. A second problem is
that if the same wavelength at which path reservation started in the initial routers
in the path is not available in some subsequent router, then wavelength
conversion is required which again compromises some of the benefits of an all
optical transparent path. The advantage of Packet switching is that a packet
containing a header (e.g. addresses) and a payload is sent without circuit set up
(delay) and we have static sharing of the link wavelengths among
packets with different sources and destinations. However, due to the store
and forward mechanism, every node processes the header of the packet arriving
to know where to route it, and this make the use of a buifer et every node
necessary. OBS combines both advantages of optical circuit and packet
switching. Unlike the circuit switched approach it does not need to dedicate a
wavelength for each end-to-end connection due to the fast release of the
wavelength on a link after the burst passes by it. Also unlike the packet switched
approach, burst data does not need to be buffered or processed at the cross
connect since the OBS mechanism is a cut through one.
Optical Bandwidt Laten Optica Overhead adaptivel
switchin h cy l (per unit y (truffle
Circuit Low High Not Low Low
Packet High Low Required High High
Burst High Low Not Low High

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In optical burst switching, offset time is the time between the burst
header/control packet. The offset time used in one-way reservation schemes
allows the network time to schedule the burst and setup resources prior to burst
arrival is sent into the network. The offset time can be varied to allow the
network time to configure based on the information carried in the burst header
packet. By varying the offset time, different levels of quality of service can be


Latency in a packet-switched network is measured either one-way (the time

from the source sending a packet to the destination receiving it), or round-trip
(the one-way latency from source to destination plus the one-way latency from
the destination back to the source). Round-trip latency is more often quoted,
because it can be measured from a single point. Note that round trip latency
excludes the amount of time that a destination system spends processing the
packet. Many software platforms provide a service called ping that can be used
to measure round-trip latency. Ping performs no packet processing; it merely
sends a response back when it receives a packet (i.e. performs a no-op), thus it is
a relatively accurate way of measuring latency.

Where precision is important, one-way latency for a link can be more strictly
defined as the time from the start of packet transmission to the start of packet
reception. The time from the start of packet reception to the end of packet
reception is measured separately and called "transmission delay". This definition
of latency is independent of the link's throughput and the size of the packet, and
is the absolute minimum delay possible with that link.

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In telecommunications, an optical buffer is a device that is capable of

temporarily storing light. Just as in the case of a regular buffer, it is a storage
medium that enables to compensate for a difference in time of occurrence of
events. More specifically, an optical buffer serves to store data that was
transmitted optically. As light cannot be frozen, an optical buffer is made of
optical fibers, and is, in general, a lot bigger than a RAM chip of comparable
capacity would be. A single fiber can serve as a buffer, however, in general, a set
of more than one is used. A possibility, e.g., is to choose a certain length D for

the smallest fiber, and then let the second, third... have lengths .
Another typical example is to use a single loop, in which the data circulates for a
variable number of times.

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There are three variations of burst switching: Tell-and-go (TAG), in-band-

terminator (113 T) and reserve-a-fixed-duration (RFD). In all three variations,
bandwidth is reserved at the burst level using one a way process, and the most
important point is that bursts are cut through intermediate nodes, instead of being
stored and forwarded.
1. Tell-and-go (TAG)
In TAG, the source sends the control packet on a separate control channel to
reserve bandwidth and set the switches along the path for a data burst that can be
sent on the data channel without receiving an acknowledgment first. This means
that the oil'set time T between the control and the burst packet is much smaller
than the circuit set up time. After the burst is sent, another control signal is sent
to release the bandwidth.
2.In-band-Terminator (IBT)
In IBT, every burst has a header like in packet switching and also a special
delimiter or terminator indicating the end of the burst. IBT is not exactly like
packet switching that has a store and forward mechanism, instead, IBT uses
virtual cut through. Specifically, a source and the intermediate node can send the
head of a burst even before the tail of the burst is received, This means that the
burst will encounter less delay and a smaller buffer size is needed at a node,
except for one case when the entire burst has to wait at a node because the
wavelength at the link is not available.
3. Reserve-a-fixed~duration (RFD)
RFD is somehow similar to TAG, in the sense that the control packet is sent
first to reserve bandwidth and set the switches, followed by the data burst after
a time offset T. However, in RFD, the bandwidth is reserved for a duration
specified by the control packet which , like a header of variable length packet,

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Seminar 2006 Optical Burst Switching 35

contains the burst length. However, this means that the burst will have a limited
maximum size
4. Just Enough Time Protocol (JET) JET is a RFD scheme. The source node
having a burst of data to transmit, sends at the beginning a control packet on a
signaling channel which has a dedicated wavelength other than for the data to
the destination node. At each node on the way, the control packet is processed
in order to establish an all optical path for the data burst. Each node of the path
chooses a convenient wavelength on the outgoing link, reserves bandwidth on
that link and sets up the optical switch, this is all based on the information
carried by the control packet. During that time, the data burst wait for a time
offset T, at the source node in the electronic domain. In JET the intermediate
network nodes work as follows. The incoming data from end-stations is
buffered according to its destination. After some time the data is ready for
dispatch as an optical burst. A control signal (the burst header) is then sent to
the next downstream node and some time later 'T offset (launch)' the burst is
transmitted on the wavelength specified in the header. T offset is the time delay
between a header and its respective data. T is sufficient for the intermediate
nodes to fulfill the arrival of a burst header on the control channel of a link
which signals a node to attempt to reserve a wavelength/time-slot for the soon-
to-arrive data to be switched to an output link closer to the destination. Full
wavelength translation capability at each link is needed so that any burst can be
routed to any free wavelength on the output link; therefore the wavelength of a
burst has local significance only. The downstream node then sends a new
header to the next downstream node. At each hop T offset is reduced by the
processing time (per-hop-offset or Tpro) at each node; therefore for a burst to
travel n hops, Toffset(launch) >.n * Tpro. The advance notice provided by the
header suffices that when the data-burst arrives at an intermediate node, that
node is already set to route the signal from input to output channel to output

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• Inefficient utilization of resources.

• Dependence on speed/protocol (Opaque).

• Speed limitations imposed by available electronic processing capabilities.


• Faces two technological bottlenecks: Processing speed and buffering.

• Noise accumulation

• No/limited QoS management.

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In this paper we have discussed a novel paradigm called the opticai burst
switching (OBS) as an efficient way to resolve the problem of congestion that
the Internet is suffering from. Bursty traffic, for example IP traffic over WDM
network will be supported. Optical packet and circuit switching were discussed
and compared to the new OBS switching technique. Next, different OBS
variations were described in addition to the Just Enough Time protocol was
investigated. OBS is a very promising switching technique that will most likely
be adopted in the future.

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wwwutdallas edu www

www cc yatcch edu
Optical Networks1 by Rajiv Ramaswami & Kumar N.Sivarajan

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