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As Internet traffic continues to grow unabated at an exponential rate, it is unclear whether the existing packet routing network architecture based on electronic routers will continue to scale at the necessary pace. On the other hand, optical fiber and switching elements have demonstrated an abundance of capacity that appears to be unmatched by electronic routers. Although a number of optical backbone architectures have been proposed (e.g., optical burst switching), they generally rely on frequent dynamic circuit reconfigurations and new signaling protocols for network-wide coordination. Recently, the authors proposed an alternative optical backbone architecture called COPLAR based on a paradigm of coarse optical circuit switching by default and adaptive re-routing over circuits when necessary.
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