Although the new generation all-optical switches are becoming faster, re-scheduling the switching architecture and re-synchronization of the data stream comes at the cost of latency which may end up in milliseconds.
Most networking equipment today is based on electronic-signals, meaning that the optical signals have to be converted to electrical ones, to be amplified, switched, and then reconverted to optical signals. The latter is referred to as an ‘optical-to-electronic-to-optical’ (OEO) conversion and is one of the bottlenecks in transmission.
Currently, developments are mainly focused at the optical part of the switch, where the source and nature of the optical signals are sort of taken for granted. Development is more focused on the physical elements of the switch, rather than on the control of the switch and the optical data stream to and from the switch.
Most optical switches contain some form of OEO conversion to identify the address to send to, to maintain the synchronization in the network and so on. This results in latency and power comparable to classical store and forward switches.
Cool Optics is working on a concept in which its Lock & Link technology, combined with an ALL Optical switch, can provide a solution to that problem.
The optical communication and networking market has a high potential and is expected to be worth USD 24 Billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% from USD 15.11 Billion in 2017. Some of the key factors driving the growth of this market are the growing adoption of cloud-based services and virtualization, and growing data center deployments.
(ref: Markets and Markets).