monitoring the quality of signal in packet-switched networks using optical correlators

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    Monitoring the Quality of Signal in Packet-SwitchedNetworks Using Optical Correlators

    Ruth Vilar Mateo, Jaime Garca, Guillaume Tremblay, Youngjae Kim, Sophie LaRochelle, Member, IEEE,Francisco Ramos, Member, IEEE, and Javier Mart, Member, IEEE

    AbstractThe increasing demand in the Internet network forreal-time multimedia data traffic with high quality of service (QoS)is pushing the limits of existing network structure. Optical packetswitching (OPS) is considered as a possible technology for futuretelecommunication networks due to its compatibility with burstytraffic and efficient use of the network resources. But OPS bringsabout new challenges to the research in optical performance mon-itoring (OPM). In this scenario, each packet follows its own pathalong the network depending on the routing information containedin the label and thereby packets suffer from different signal degra-dations. Therefore, a definitive goal for OPM is to provide compre-hensive signal quality information as part of QoS implementationto keep the level of QoS promised to customers. In this paper, anovel optical SNR (OSNR) monitoring technique based on the useof optical correlation is presented. A fiber Bragg grating-based cor-relator was constructed and used to experimentally demonstratethe successful correlation. Experiments performed on a 40 Gb/ssystem confirm the viability of this approach. By measuring statis-tics from the autocorrelation peak, the monitor is capable of directOSNR monitoring with an error of less than 0.5 dB.

    Index TermsFiber Bragg gratings, optical packet switching,optical packet-switched networks, optical performance moni-toring, optical SNR (OSNR).


    T ELECOMMUNICATION networks are experiencing adramatic increase in demand for capacity, much of itdue to the exponential growth of the Internet and associatedservices. In addition to rapidly increasing capacity demands,new multimedia and data services are driving the needs forhigh-performance and high-utilization networks. Optical packetswitching (OPS) technology is particularly attractive as a pos-sible technology for future telecommunication networks, dueto its compatibility with Internet protocol (IP) and efficient

    Manuscript received February 17, 2009; revised June 18, 2009. First pub-lished July 21, 2009; current version published October 16, 2009This work(at COPL, Universit Laval) was supported by the all-optical packet switchingproject of the Canadian Institute for Photonic Innovations (CIPI). The work ofR. Vilar was supported by the Spanish Government under an FPU grant.

    R. V. Mateo, J. Garca, F. Ramos, and J. Mart are with the NanophotonicsTechnology Centre, Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Valencia 46022, Spain(e-mail:

    G. Tremblay, Y. Kim, and S. LaRochelle are with the Centre doptique, pho-tonique et laser, Dpartement de gnie lectrique et de gnie informatique, Uni-versit Laval, Qubec, Canada.

    Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available onlineat

    Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JLT.2009.2028034

    use of the network resources [1], [2]. Indeed, the benefit ofOPS rises from the higher network utilization at subwavelengthgranularity and from the supporting of more diverse serviceswith bursty traffic patterns. Moreover, OPS technology offers anew capability to process packets directly at the optical layer.At this point, the concept of all-optical label switching (AOLS)appears to be a solution to avoid the bottleneck imposed bythe nodes based on electronic processing [3]. In such an AOLSscenario, all packet-by-packet routing and forwarding functionsof multiprotocol label switching are implemented directly inthe optical domain. By using optical labels, the IP packets aredirected through the core optical networks without requiringO/E/O conversions whenever a routing decision is necessary.The main advantage of this approach is the ability to routepackets/burst independently of bit rate, packet format, andpacket length. In addition to packet routing and forwarding,the processing of optical labels brings about new challengesto the research in optical performance monitoring (OPM).OPM is expected to play an important role in next-generationoptical networks performing some network crucial functionssuch as signal quality characterization for quality of service(QoS) assurance and service level agreement fulfillment [4].QoS refers to the capability of a network to provide betterservice or guarantee a certain level of performance to selectednetwork packets. Therefore, new techniques to monitor thesignal quality directly at the physical layer must be deployedas part of QoS, to insure that networks are performing at thedesired level and thereby realizing a reliable, high-performanceand service-differentiation enabled all-optical network [5].

    With the introduction of new-generation multimedia services,OPS networks transport different types of traffic with differentquality requirements so that performance monitoring is espe-cially important to ensure that packets receive appropriate treat-ment as they travel through the network. Packets entering thenetwork must be analyzed to determine their QoS requirementsdepending on the kind of network service, and then, the signalquality must be monitored in each intermediate node to guar-antee certain level of performance. In this scenario, each opticalsignal may traverse different paths and different optical compo-nents; thereby having its own history and quality. This is shownin Fig. 1, where packets coming from different services and withdistinct QoS requirements, and , are generated from sev-eral sources and go through different paths along the network.The three packets pass diverse optical links and switches, thenexit from the same node (node A). The bottom of Fig. 1 de-picts the optical power of the output packets from node A. Wecan see that the ASE noise level in each packet is different and

    0733-8724/$26.00 2009 IEEE


    Fig. 1. Packets with different quality in an OPS network.

    thereby the packets have different level of performance. There-fore, in order to determine the health of optical signals in OPSnetworks and to guarantee certain QoS level, the optical packetsin each intermediate node must be monitored.

    The traditional monitoring techniques based on BER estima-tion [6], [7] or Q-factor [8], [9] are not appropriate for the futureultrahigh-speed optical networks due to the O/E conversionsthat limit the bit rate unless it is preceded by optical time de-multiplexing. In fact, new performance monitoring techniquesshould be defined in order to overcome this limitation. Recentworks have demonstrated all-OPM and selective packet drop-ping by monitoring the error of the optical header field to inferthe error of the data payload [10][12]. The technique proposedin [10] uses labels at lower bit rates than the payload, so thequality is not monitored at the packet bit rate. With respect to[11] and [12], the basis of the monitoring techniques is different.Both of them are based on time-to-live (TTL) field concept, sothey do not measure the real value of the optical SNR (OSNR),but they estimate it as function of the TTL value.

    In this paper, we propose and demonstrate a novel techniquebased on the use of optical correlation to assess the signal qualityat the optical domain with relaxed speed requirements. A spe-cific data word, with information associated with QoS or kindof service, is inserted into the packet header and is processedby means of an optical correlator based on fiber Bragg gratings(FBGs). Therefore, the technique uses serial optical labels trav-eling at the same bit rate as the payload allowing performancemonitoring at high speeds as the correlation is performed in theoptical domain. In particular, the OSNR of the incoming packetsis estimated from the noise statistics of the autocorrelation pulsepeak power to ensure that they fulfill the QoS requirements.Using a 10-ps pulsewidth 40 Gb/s return-to-zero ONOFF keying

    (RZ-OOK) system, we show that OSNR can be monitored withan error 0.5 dB.

    The paper is structured as follows. In Section II, the principleof operation of the novel monitoring technique is described.Section III provides an overview of different digital correlationimplementations and explains the basis of an FBG-based corre-lator. In Section IV, the monitoring technique is demonstratedexperimentally. Finally, the paper is summarized in Section V.


    The signal quality monitoring method is based on sendinga specific data word (monitoring field) inserted into the packetheader, which specifies the QoS requirement of the incomingpackets. This QoS field fixes the quality of signal requirementsfor each packet flow coming from a specific service. Then op-tical headers of packets with the same QoS requirements, i.e.,the same monitoring field associated with the same kind of ser-vice, are processed in each intermediate node to check if theestimated quality fulfills the terms of QoS and to guarantee therequired level of performance. Fig. 2 shows the block diagramof the proposed monitor for optical packets [13]. The monitor iscomposed of correlators, each of which is configured to pro-duce a match signal for a specific QoS. The number of corre-lators, , defines the number of type of services or QoS levelsprovided by the carriers. Three basic levels are normally definedin the network: best-effort service, differentiated service, andguaranteed service [14].

    When the packet arrives at the node, the monitoring infor-mation field, with or 1 and

    , is extracted with a pulse peak power of .The circuit responsible for t


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