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If optical routers are to become reality, the authors will need several new optical technologies, one of which is to build sufficiently large optical buffers. Building optical buffers for routers is daunting: today's electronic routers often hold millions of packets, which is well beyond the capabilities of optical technology. In this paper, they argue that two new results offer a solution. First, they show that the size of buffers in backbone routers can be made very small - just about 20 packets per linecard - at the expense of a small loss in throughput. Second, they show that integrated delay line optical buffers can store a few dozen packets on a photonic chip.
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