All optical networking beyond 10 Gbits/s OTDM networks based on electro-optic modulators and fibre ring lasers
This thesis examines options for high capacity all optical networks. Specifically optical time division multiplexed (OTDM) networks based on electro-optic modulators are investigated experimentally, whilst comparisons with alternative approaches are carried out. It is intended that the thesis will form the basis of comparison between optical time division multiplexed networks and the more mature approach of wavelength division multiplexed networks. Following an introduction to optical networking concepts, the required component technologies are discussed. In particular various optical pulse sources are described with the demanding restrictions of optical multiplexing in mind. This is followed by a discussion of the construction of multiplexers and demultiplexers, including favoured techniques for high speed clock recovery. Theoretical treatments of the performance of Mach Zehnder and electroabsorption modulators support the design criteria that are established for the construction of simple optical time division multiplexed systems. Having established appropriate end terminals for an optical network, the thesis examines transmission issues associated with high speed RZ data signals. Propagation of RZ signals over both installed (standard fibre) and newly commissioned fibre routes are considered in turn. In the case of standard fibre systems, the use of dispersion compensation is summarised, and the application of mid span spectral inversion experimentally investigated. For green field sites, soliton like propagation of high speed data signals is demonstrated. In this case the particular restrictions of high speed soliton systems are discussed and experimentally investigated, namely the increasing impact of timing jitter and the downward pressure on repeater spacings due to the constraint of the average soliton model. These issues are each addressed through investigations of active soliton control for OTDM systems and through investigations of novel fibre types respectively. Finally the particularly remarkable networking potential of optical time division multiplexed systems is established, and infinite node cascadability using soliton control is demonstrated. A final comparison of the various technologies for optical multiplexing is presented in the conclusions, where the relative merits of the technologies for optical networking emerges as the key differentiator between technologies.