The 5G-induced paradigm shift from traditional macro-cell networks towards ultra-dense deployment of small cells, imposes stringent bandwidth and latency requirements in the underlying network infrastructure. While state of the art TDM-PON e.g. 10G-EPON, have already transformed the fronthaul networks from circuit switched point-to-point links into packet based architectures of shared point-to-multipoint links, the 5G Ethernet-based fronthaul brings new requirements in terms of latency for an inherently bursty traffic. This is expected to promote the deployment of a whole new class of optical devices that can perform with burst-mode traffic while realizing routing functionalities at a low-latency and energy envelope, avoiding in this way the latency burden associated with a complete optoelectronic Ethernet routing process and acting as a fast optical gateway for ultra-low latency requiring signals. Wavelength conversion can offer a reliable option for ultra-fast routing in access and fronthaul networks, provided, however, that it can at the same time offer both packet power-level equalization to account for differences in optical path losses and comply with the typical, in optical fronthauling, NRZ format. In this paper, we demonstrate an optical Burst-Mode Wavelength Converter using a Differentially-Biased SOA-MZI that operates in the deeply saturated regime to provide optical output power equalization for different input signal powers. The device has been experimentally validated for 10Gb/s NRZ optical packets, providing error-free operation for an input packet peak-power dynamic range of more than 9dB.
A. Tsakyridis, M. Moralis-Pegios, C. Vagionas, K. Vyrsokinos, and N. Pleros, "Optical burst-mode wavelength conversion for 10Gb/s NRZ optical signals," Proc. SPIE 10945, Broadband Access Communication Technologies XIII, 1094506 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 04, 2019; Published: 1 February 2019); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2507850.
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