18-713: Optical Networks

Units: 12

In the Information Age, we are seeing relentless demand for networks of higher and higher capacities, at lower and lower costs. This demand is fueled by many different factors. The tremendous growth of the Internet and the World Wide Web has brought more and more users online, consuming large amounts of bandwidth due to data transfers involving video and images. Moreover, a telephone call from a user logging into the Internet lasts much longer than a voice call, resulting in a significant increase in the load that the telephone network must support. At the same time, businesses are relying increasingly on intra-nets and extra-nets - essentially, high-speed networks - for their day-to-day operations. Furthermore, the ultimate vision of the information age is that information can be located anywhere but is accessible from everywhere as if it were located locally. Networks of enormous capacity will be required to provide the infrastructure to realize this vision. All these factors are driving the need for more bandwidth in networks as well as network services.

To fulfill the demands for bandwidth and to deploy new services, network operators must deploy new technologies, and optical networking is one such key new technology. Even though the emphasis of this course will be on optical networking technologies, the underlying fiber optic link design and the basic optical components needed for a point-to-point link will be reviewed. The basic principle of operation of optical transmitters, detectors, optical amplifiers, multiplexers, filters, couplers, and wavelength converters will be described. A knowledge of optical devices is not only necessary from a transmission system engineering viewpoint but also from the viewpoint of appreciating the limitations that these devices impose on optical networks.

In the remainder of the course, the emphasis will be on describing First-Generation Optical Network Technologies such as SONET/SDH, FDDI, ATM, IP, and Second-Generation Optical Networks employing Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) Technologies. Research issues in today's and future Optical Access Networks, Photonic Packet Switching Techniques, and optical routing techniques (such as Detection Routing, Hybrid Store-and-Forward, and Wavelength Conversion) will also be highlighted. Other topics that will be (time permitting) covered include Network Control and Management and Fault/Failure Protection/Management of Optical Networks and the current deployment considerations.

Prerequisites: Background in undergraduate probability and telecommunication networks and senior or graduate standing.


Applied Physics (Solid State/Magnetics/Fields)

Last modified on 2012-12-20

Past semesters:

S05, S04, S03, F02, F01, S01, F00