All Optical Switch Bubbles to the Surface
- By Scott Bekker
- March 07, 2000
An all optical network switch may inspire awe and techno-lust, but its key technology is probably already deployed in your home. Agilent Technologies Inc. has unveiled its Photonic Switching Platform, based on inkjet technology.
The switch, which uses light to route data, passes the data stream through a fluid over a sheet full of holes. If traffic needs to be rerouted, an inkjet, like the ones in inexpensive printers, puts a reflective bubble into a hole, forcing the traffic to move in different direction. The switch can repeat this operation hundred of times per second.
Most switches for fiber optic networks require that the data be converted to electronic signals before it can be rerouted. Agilent (www.agilent.com) hopes that the all optical switch will make optical networks more efficient by speeding up network transfers, and reducing the need for error correction.
Agilent aims to market the Photonic Switch to high bandwidth network users, particularly the telecommunications industry, and e-commerce enterprises. Video, audio, and other multimedia may also gain a boost from the new technology. - Christopher McConnell
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.