Special Issue "New Trends in Optical Networks"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Optics and Lasers".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021).
Related Special Issue: Photonic Technologies and Systems Enabling 6G

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Fabio Cavaliere
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ericsson Research, Via Moruzzi 1 c/o CNR, Ericsson, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: electronics and communication engineering; optics; telecommunications engineering
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Luca Potì
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Telecomunicazioni - CNIT, Via Moruzzi 1, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: optical communications and networks; high capacity systems; quantum communications; photonic integrated circuits; optical networks field trials
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A photonics-enhanced information and communication infrastructure will be the key enabler that the future digital society, industry, and economy will rely upon, shared by humans and machines. This infrastructure will be connected to a myriad of connected devices. It will require unprecedented capacity, energy, and cost efficiency and ultrafast responsivity for time-sensitive applications for humans and robots.

This Special Issue covers recent advances and new trends in the research and standardization of optical networks with high impact on the future digitized society and economy, encompassing all network layers, from new optical components to smart network operations. Covered topics include, but are not limited to, the following: new materials, technologies, and production processes for integrated photonics devices, for example, graphene and CMOS photonics modulators, photodectors, and switches; ultra-high-speed optical transport networks, beyond terabit/s; broadband optical amplification; high bandwidth density and energy-efficient interconnection systems; co-packaged electrical and optical ICs; photonics applications for broadband radio systems; optical generation and detection of millimeter waves and THz; optical wireless communications; optical beamforming; new switching paradigms for flexible capacity scaling, low latency, and time-deterministic networking; new network architecture and control paradigms; self-configuring optical networks; virtualized highly flexible network control; integrated fixed-mobile architectures; convergence of mobile, optical, and cloud computing; evolution of NFV, SDN, and AI-based network control; multi-domain routing; secure optical networking; quantum secure networks. Survey papers and reviews are welcome.

Dr. Fabio Cavaliere
Prof. Dr. Luca Potì
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Applied Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • integrated photonics
  • beyond terabit/s optical networks
  • ultra-broadband optical amplifiers
  • co-packaged ICs
  • photonics applications for radio systems
  • time-deterministic switching
  • highly flexible and self-configurable optical networks
  • convergence of mobile, optical, and cloud
  • AI-based network control
  • secure and quantum secure optical networks.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Article
Packet Optical Transport Network Slicing with Hard and Soft Isolation
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(13), 6219; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11136219 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 625
Abstract
Network operators have been dealing with the necessity of a dynamic network resources allocation to provide a new generation of customer-tailored applications. In that sense, Telecom providers have to migrate their BSS/OSS systems and network infrastructure to more modern solutions to introduce end-to-end [...] Read more.
Network operators have been dealing with the necessity of a dynamic network resources allocation to provide a new generation of customer-tailored applications. In that sense, Telecom providers have to migrate their BSS/OSS systems and network infrastructure to more modern solutions to introduce end-to-end automation and support the new use cases derived from the 5G adoption and transport network slices. In general, there is a joint agreement on making this transition to an architecture defined by programmable interfaces and standard protocols. Hence, this paper uses the iFusion architecture to control and program the network infrastructure. The work presents an experimental validation of the network slicing instantiation in an IP/Optical environment using a set of standard protocols and interfaces. The work provides results of the creation, modification and deletion of the network slices. Furthermore, it demonstrates the usage of standard communication protocols (Netconf and Restconf) in combination with standard YANG data models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
Integrating Optical and Wireless Techniques towards Novel Fronthaul and Access Architectures in a 5G NR Framework
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 5048; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11115048 - 29 May 2021
Viewed by 759
Abstract
The fifth-generation of mobile network (5G) and beyond requires a radio access network (RAN) update in order to cope with the incoming increase of wireless data traffic and new applications. In this context, we propose an efficient optical-wireless architecture applied to the non-standalone [...] Read more.
The fifth-generation of mobile network (5G) and beyond requires a radio access network (RAN) update in order to cope with the incoming increase of wireless data traffic and new applications. In this context, we propose an efficient optical-wireless architecture applied to the non-standalone (NSA) 5G new radio (NR) framework. Several distinct electrical- and optical-based fronthaul configurations combining free-space optical (FSO), wireless links, and radio over fiber (RoF) techniques were implemented and properly analyzed for selection according to network operator deployment requirements. In addition, visible light communication (VLC) was investigated as a future access network technology when immunity to electromagnetic interference is paramount. Experimental results demonstrated fourth-generation of mobile network (4G) and 5G coexistence at Gbit/s throughput and error vector magnitude (EVM) in accordance with 5G NR Release 15. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
A Programmable ROADM System for SDM/WDM Networks
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 4195; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11094195 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 513
Abstract
This paper proposed and evaluated a programmable ROADM system for MCF-based SDM/WDM networks. The proposed ROADM system employing both bypass connection and Route-and-Select wavelength switching enables adaptable virtual topology in optical networks by dynamically configuring bypass connection cores. The simulation results confirmed this [...] Read more.
This paper proposed and evaluated a programmable ROADM system for MCF-based SDM/WDM networks. The proposed ROADM system employing both bypass connection and Route-and-Select wavelength switching enables adaptable virtual topology in optical networks by dynamically configuring bypass connection cores. The simulation results confirmed this ROADM system could provide acceptable performance with an around 10–20% reduction in the total cost including the number of ports and WSSs by comparing with a fully flexible SDM/WDM ROADM system, which cannot be implemented due to the required extremely high-port-count WSSs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
Multi-Tier Heterogeneous Beam Management for Future Indoor FSO Networks
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3627; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083627 - 17 Apr 2021
Viewed by 589
Abstract
To meet the growing demand for wireless capacity, communications in the Terahertz (THz) and optical bands are being broadly explored. Communications within these bands provide massive bandwidth potential along with highly directional beam steering capabilities. While the available bandwidth offers incredible link capacity, [...] Read more.
To meet the growing demand for wireless capacity, communications in the Terahertz (THz) and optical bands are being broadly explored. Communications within these bands provide massive bandwidth potential along with highly directional beam steering capabilities. While the available bandwidth offers incredible link capacity, the directionality of these technologies offers an even more significant potential for spatial capacity or area spectral efficiency. However, this directionality also implies a challenge related to the network’s ability to quickly establish a connection. In this paper, we introduce a multi-tier heterogeneous (MTH) beamform management strategy that utilizes various wireless technologies in order to quickly acquire a highly directional indoor free space optical communication (FSO) link. The multi-tier design offers the high resolution of indoor FSO while the millimeter-wave (mmWave) system narrows the FSO search space. By narrowing the search space, the system relaxes the requirements of the FSO network in order to assure a practical search time. This paper introduces the necessary components of the proposed beam management strategy and provides a foundational analysis framework to demonstrate the relative impact of coverage, resolution, and steering velocity across tiers. Furthermore, an optimization analysis is used to define the top tier resolution that minimizes worst-case search time as a function of lower tier resolution and top tier range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
Low Complexity DSP for High Speed Optical Access Networking
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(8), 3406; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11083406 - 10 Apr 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
A novel low-cost and energy-efficient approach for reaching 40 Gb/s signals is proposed for cost-sensitive optical access networks. Our proposed design is constituted of an innovative low-complex high-performance digital signal processing (DSP) architecture for pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4), reuses existing commercial cost-effective 10-G [...] Read more.
A novel low-cost and energy-efficient approach for reaching 40 Gb/s signals is proposed for cost-sensitive optical access networks. Our proposed design is constituted of an innovative low-complex high-performance digital signal processing (DSP) architecture for pulse amplitude modulation (PAM-4), reuses existing commercial cost-effective 10-G components and eliminates the need of a power-hungry radio frequency (RF) component in the transmitter. Using a multi-functional 17-tap reconfigurable adaptive Volterra-based nonlinear equalizer with noise suppression, significant improvement in receiver optical power sensitivity is achieved. Results show that over 30 km of single-mode fiber (SMF) a link power budget of 33 dB is feasible at a bit-error-rate (BER) threshold of 10−3. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
Emulating Software-Defined Disaggregated Optical Networks in a Containerized Framework
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(5), 2081; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11052081 - 26 Feb 2021
Viewed by 451
Abstract
Telecom operators’ infrastructure is undergoing high pressure to keep the pace with the traffic demand generated by the societal need of remote communications, bandwidth-hungry applications, and the fulfilment of 5G requirements. Software-defined networking (SDN) entered in scene decoupling the data-plane forwarding actions from [...] Read more.
Telecom operators’ infrastructure is undergoing high pressure to keep the pace with the traffic demand generated by the societal need of remote communications, bandwidth-hungry applications, and the fulfilment of 5G requirements. Software-defined networking (SDN) entered in scene decoupling the data-plane forwarding actions from the control-plane decisions, hence boosting network programmability and innovation. Optical networks are also capitalizing on SDN benefits jointly with a disaggregation trend that holds the promise of overcoming traditional vendor-locked island limitations. In this work, we present our framework for disaggregated optical networks that leverages on SDN and container-based management for a realistic emulation of deployment scenarios. Our proposal relies on Kubernetes for the containers’ control and management, while employing the NETCONF protocol for the interaction with the light-weight software entities, i.e., agents, which govern the emulated optical devices. Remarkably, our agents’ structure relies on components that offer high versatility for accommodating the wide variety of components and systems in the optical domain. We showcase our proposal with the emulation of an 18-node European topology employing Cassini-compliant optical models, i.e., a state-of-the-art optical transponder proposed in the Telecom Infrastructure Project. The combination of our versatile framework based on containerized entities, the automatic creation of agents and the optical-layer characteristics represents a novel approach suitable for operationally complex carrier-grade transport infrastructure with SDN-based disaggregated optical systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
Analyses of the Key Technologies and Development Trends of Optical Networks from the Perspective of Standard Essential Patents
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 1583; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11041583 - 10 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 557
Abstract
Because of the advancement of 5G, mobile devices, and broadband, the development of optical network technologies has received increased research attention. However, studies have mostly focused on the technical or market aspects rather than employing a macroscopic perspective to reveal the technology distribution [...] Read more.
Because of the advancement of 5G, mobile devices, and broadband, the development of optical network technologies has received increased research attention. However, studies have mostly focused on the technical or market aspects rather than employing a macroscopic perspective to reveal the technology distribution of optical networks and the development trends in their key fields. Given that technologies disclosed by standard essential patents (SEPs) are the key technologies that determine the standards in relevant industries, we used SEPs optical networks as the basis of analyses and constructed a technology network. Therefore, the contribution of this study lies in bridging the research gap between two studies, using the perspective of SEPs to observe the key technologies in leading industry standard-setting. In addition to the aspects of technologies and markets addressed in existing studies, this study primarily discusses technology distribution and trends in optical networks. The results reveal that transmission of digital information, wireless communication networks and multiple communication are the key technical fields in developing optical networks, with wireless communication devices and digital information transmission being the main focus in recent years. Considering the gradual standardization of future optical network technologies and the fierce competition between manufacturers in SEP applications, relevant industries and universities should cooperate in key technical fields for research and development as well as in talent cultivation to facilitate the development of key technologies and industrial standards in optical networks. The current results may serve as a reference for both industry and academia with regard to research and development resource allocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
An Experimental OpenFlow Proposal over Legacy GPONs to Allow Real-Time Service Reconfiguration Policies
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(3), 903; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11030903 - 20 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 511
Abstract
The integration of Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies in Passive Optical Networks (PONs) would provide great advantages to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Network Operators, since they can optimize the network operation and reduce its complexity. However, some tasks regarding online service and [...] Read more.
The integration of Software Defined Networking (SDN) technologies in Passive Optical Networks (PONs) would provide great advantages to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Network Operators, since they can optimize the network operation and reduce its complexity. However, some tasks regarding online service and network configuration strategies are difficult to move to external SDN-controllers since they are time-critical operations. However, the control of some of these policies by SDN techniques could lead to better network and management configuration in a centralized and automatic way. As a consequence, we propose and experimentally test the integration of an OpenFlow approach over legacy Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPONs), which allows moving some global service configuration policies to an external SDN controller implementing an SDN management layer that adjust these strategies according to dynamic Quality of Service (QoS) requirements of services in residential users. The viability and efficiency of our approach are demonstrated using a GPON testbed and proposing a new business scenario for ISPs and Network Operators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Article
Low-Loss and Broadband Silicon Photonic 3-dB Power Splitter with Enhanced Coupling of Shallow-Etched Rib Waveguides
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(13), 4507; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10134507 - 29 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1027
Abstract
A silicon photonic 3-dB power splitter is one of the essential components to demonstrate large-scale silicon photonic integrated circuits (PICs), and can be utilized to implement modulators, 1 × 2 switches, and 1 × N power splitters for various PIC applications. In this [...] Read more.
A silicon photonic 3-dB power splitter is one of the essential components to demonstrate large-scale silicon photonic integrated circuits (PICs), and can be utilized to implement modulators, 1 × 2 switches, and 1 × N power splitters for various PIC applications. In this paper, we reported the design and experimental demonstration of low-loss and broadband silicon photonic 3-dB power splitters. The power splitter was realized by adiabatically tapered rib waveguides with 60-nm shallow etches. The shallow-etched rib waveguides offered strong coupling and relaxed critical dimensions (a taper tip width of 200 nm and gap spacing of 300 nm). The fabricated device exhibited an excess loss as low as 0.06 dB at a 1550-nm wavelength and a broad operating wavelength range from 1470 nm to 1570 nm. The relaxed critical dimensions (≥200 nm) make the power splitter compatible with standard fabrication processes of existing silicon photonics foundries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Review

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Review
Optical Technology for NFV Converged Networks
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(4), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11041522 - 08 Feb 2021
Viewed by 578
Abstract
5G and its evolution towards 6G is unlocking new use cases that will require the reconsideration of the existing network architectures and its operation. As the network will be required to support new service types and radio protocol splits, the traditional physical point [...] Read more.
5G and its evolution towards 6G is unlocking new use cases that will require the reconsideration of the existing network architectures and its operation. As the network will be required to support new service types and radio protocol splits, the traditional physical point to point connections will need to be replaced with a transport network up to the antenna site to guarantee low latency services and high bandwidth. Optical based transport is a key enabler to realize such a convergent network, where the traditional fixed infrastructure in use for mobile services and mobile infrastructure should also support enterprises services. The Software Defined Network (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology plays a key role to evolve towards digitalization. It allows to simplify the creation of new services and to implement a real decoupling between the infrastructure and the network functions that run virtually, on generic processing units located everywhere in the network. Supporting automation is a key requirement that traditional optical technology is not able to meet. In this paper the reference scenarios for the access network are presented with the analysis of their requirements and the enabling optical solutions based on integrated silicon photonics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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Other

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Letter
Rearrangeable Nonblocking Conditions for Four Elastic Optical Data Center Networks
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(21), 7428; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10217428 - 22 Oct 2020
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Four variants of elastic optical data center network (DCN) architectures based on optical circuit switching were proposed in an earlier study. The necessary and sufficient values of frequency slot units (FSUs) per fiber required for these four DCNs in the sense of there [...] Read more.
Four variants of elastic optical data center network (DCN) architectures based on optical circuit switching were proposed in an earlier study. The necessary and sufficient values of frequency slot units (FSUs) per fiber required for these four DCNs in the sense of there being strictly nonblocking (SNB) were derived, but no results in the sense of being rearrangeable nonblocking (RNB) were presented. In reality, only limited bandwidths are available, and reducing the value of FSUs per fiber has become a critical task to realize nonblocking optical DCN architectures in practice. In this paper, we derive the sufficient value of FSUs per fiber required for the four DCNs to be RNB by two multigraph approaches. Our results show that the proposed RNB conditions in terms of FSUs per fiber for a certain two of the four DCNs reduce their SNB results down to at least half for most cases, and even down to one-third. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Optical Networks)
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