13 High Capacity Optical Networks Based on Space Division Multiplexing

Behnam Shariati1,2, Jaume Comellas2, Dimitrios Klonidis1, Luis Velasco2 and Ioannis Tomkos1

1 Athens Information Technology, Athens, Greece

2 Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Many physical attributes of light, including intensity, phase, and polarization, have been exploited so far to increase the capacity of optical transport systems and keep pace with the exponential traffic growth. However, we are rapidly approaching the fundamental spectral efficiency limit within the gain bandwidth of C‐band erbium‐doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs). Current trends show that capacity upgrades may occur with the introduction of multiband systems as a midterm option, due to the emergence of sophisticated amplification systems supporting L‐ and S‐bands. Nonetheless, the ultimate solution to address the capacity crunch in a cost‐effective way relies on the introduction of some forms of space division multiplexing (SDM) techniques in optical transport networks.

In this chapter, we review the recent progress in the development of SDM‐based optical networks. We describe the enabling technologies, including fibers and switches, for the efficient realization of SDM networks. It is unquestionable that the efficient use of space domain requires some form of spatial integration of network elements. Spatial integration decreases the architectural complexity, and, thus, the implementation cost of components. ...

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