One of the keys to the future of telecommunications companies will be their ability to provide new broadband services to both the business community and residential customers. With the new services will come the need for the equivalent of a broadband switching office. Such a system could require the capability of supporting in excess of 10000 users with broadband channel bit rates exceeding 100 Mb/s. This implies a switching fabric the aggregate bit rate of which could be greater than 1 Tb/s. Guided-wave technology and free-space technology switching fabrics are discussed. Three time-division-based switching fabrics are proposed, and two wavelength-division-based switching fabrics and two multidivision fabrics are described. The fine-grain space-division fabrics associated with S-SEED devices are discussed. The ways in which 2-D optoelectronic integrated circuits (2D-OEICs) or smart pixels could be used as the building blocks for larger and more complex switching fabrics are described.
H. S. Hinton, "Photonics in Switching (Invited),"IEEE Lightwave Telecommunications Systems, August 1992, pp. 26-35.