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All Optical Packet Switches (OPS) differ from traditional switches in that they avoid the need to perform any optoelectronic translations, as such they are a good candidate for future ultra-fast communications. As opposed to electronic switches where packets can be buffered (in RAM memory) for an arbitrary amount of time to avoid congestion, there exists no form of optical memory with the same capabilities for OPS switches. The lack of optical buffers may therefore be regarded as one of the main challenges faced when designing an OPS switch.
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