Data Processing and Data Communication Networks - The Drive for Cost Effective Photonic Technology -

        Recent paradigm shifts in data processing and data communications system requirements has generated the need for high performance optical interconnections. In computing and switching systems, the interconnects are inter-frame and intra-building, while in data communications the networks are global. Accompanying paradigm shifts in the competitive environment of these systems, coupled with the increased bandwidth demand of a single user, has generated a companion demand for low cost in the components of the optical technology. This paper discusses advances in cost-performance components for both of these computing system application areas. For short range optical interconnects, recent breakthroughs in high wafer yield of complex OEICs, the adaption of IC module packing to optical devices, and designing for relaxed tolerance in assembly is making possible the potential of offering GigaByte/sec parallel optical interconnects at a cost well below $100 per Gbit/sec, a factor of 10-100 times lower than telecommunications fiber optic link technology. IBM's involvement in the NIST-sponsored Jitney project and the ARPA-sponsored OETC project (both multicompany programs) will be used to illustrate these technology developments. For long range data communication, WDM technology offers the possibility of large single-use, protocol independent bandwidth at low-cost, provided the components can be inexpensively made. The practice of photolithography and integration will be the key to low-cost optoelectronic devices for WDM systems. At present, the component cost is still very high...

By: John Crow and Franklin Tong (Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong)

Published in: RC20651 in 1996

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