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Designing switching architectures for network routers and switches needs to consider limits imposed by the electronic technology, like small bandwidth ? distance factors, power density constraints, energy consumption and dissipation issues. Introducing optical technologies to implement switching functions can overcome several of the current design limits. The authors propose a cost-effective architecture implementing an optical switch without any need for optoelectronic conversion within the switching fabric. They further propose a distributed scheduling scheme, based on an extension of the Fasnet protocol, and they compare it to classical centralized scheduling algorithms, showing that a distributed scheduler can provide performance comparable to the ones offered by more complex centralized schedulers.
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