The advent of network centric operations and the Global Information Grid have highlighted the need for ultra-wide bandwidth networks to efficiently and securely route multi-gigabit data streams among air, space, and ground platforms. Boeing, with expertise in platform integration and network centric operations, in conjunction with OptiComp Corporation's (OCC) advanced photonic technology, is developing an all-optical network using wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSEL). Current VCSEL-based solutions have not integrated WDM or other functionality enhancements for improved network performance. OCC is developing a novel approach that implements advanced switching architectures by distributing integrated, WDM, VCSEL-based modules at each node in the network. This network design enables high data throughput and switching speeds, low latency, and system scalability through advanced system topologies and monolithically integrated optoelectronics. The distributed WDM switch consists of pairs of monolithically integrated VCSELs and resonant cavity photodetectors, each at a different wavelength, interconnected along a common waveguide with all multiplexing and demultiplexing done on-chip. Different levels of connectivity and functionality are available by interconnecting the optoelectronic switches in various configurations. A distributed crossbar switch with N access ports, referred to as an N<sup>3</sup> architecture (N<sup>3</sup> interconnect paths), can be realized by interconnecting an N-element VCSEL array with an array of N photodetectors. Each VCSEL and photodetector are connected using an interconnect medium such as silica-based waveguides and/or optical fibers. Using this configuration, each port can listen to all interconnect paths simultaneously. When a port senses no traffic on an interconnect path, it can transmit its signal onto that path. This implementation can use single-wavelength switches on parallel interconnect paths, or alternatively an N<sup>3</sup> network can be realized with WDM optical switches operating along a single interconnect path. Further complexity in network topology allows for the realization of N<sup>4</sup> architectures by using parallel, WDM-based, N<sup>3</sup> systems. N<sup>4</sup> topologies allow for increased scalability, thus dramatically increasing the data handling capacity of the network, as well as the number of nodes that can be accommodated.