Makes all-optical backplanes possible

March 9, 2001

3 Min Read

Lynx Photonic Networks (, developer of patented planar waveguide photonic switches and sub-systems, is announcing their new dynamically-controllable nanosecond class switch. The Packet.4x4 has 4 input ports and 4 output ports, a switching time of less than 5 nanoseconds, and features strictly non-blocking (anywhere-to-anywhere) operation.

This ultra-fast, dynamically controllable, intelligent switch enables virtual port expansion of previously limited high-speed communications systems, such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switches, high-speed Routers and OC-192 SONET Multiplexers. These applications are accomplished by overcoming the bandwidth and data rate limitations of the existing backplanes of such systems. One application example would be the creation of multi-terabit Router Systems through the inter-connection of 4 or more Terabit Routers. Other application examples include inter- and intra-shelf connectivity, storage area network (SAN) switching, and in the future, all-optical frame and packet switching.

“Lynx has introduced the ability to extend the functionality and capacity of a broad range of legacy high-speed communications systems with the creation of the world’s first ‘virtual optical backplane’ (VOB)”, commented Michael Leigh, Lynx President and co-founder on this new industry breakthrough. “The VOB interconnects multiple, previously maximized chassis-based systems into, one, higher-capacity logical system.

The VOB inter-connection is strictly non-blocking and can extend the useful life of some very expensive product development initiatives of the past 5 years”.

The Packet.4x4 can transparently switch photonic bit streams in either the 1300nm or the 1550nm spectral windows. The product provides for data rate, protocol and data format transparency. It’s high-speed logic interface enables unique capabilities, such as integrated optical multicast/broadcast capabilities.

“Equipment vendors creating products for the Service Provider and Enterprise marketplaces need to be able to take advantage of next generation dynamic optical networking technology within their products in order to (1) increase scalability; (2) maximize performance; and (3) minimize customer capital expenditure,” said Frank Dzubeck, President of Communications Network Architects, Inc. “The Packet.4x4 is the first device that equipment manufacturers can use to deliver simple product life cycle extensions for high-speed, high-capacity devices such as disk storage arrays, parallel computers, multiplexors, LAN or WAN switches, and routers.”

The Packet.4x4 utilizes an almost instant electro-optic switching technology based on Lynx’s novel Planar Lightwave Circuit (PLC) design, intelligent optical path control and proprietary packaging. The optical chip is fabricated on a Lithium Niobate substrate, assembled on a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with on-board intelligence, and fully integrated into a compact 19”, 1U rack mountable housing, with high-speed logic control interface. It has been designed for robust handling, and is based on long-established volume manufacturing processes.

“What we have created here is the world’s fastest intelligent all-optical crossbar switch. In addition to near-term applications for legacy system expansion, we believe the Packet.4x4 will enable physical layer switching necessary for the implementation of all-optical frame and packet switching”, says Aviv Frommer, Ph.D physicist and head of Packet.XX product development. “This is the true heart of the router where the switching between the input and output fibers occur”.

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