Optical signal multiplexing techniques have proven to be powerful for upgrading the fibre network capacity without having to resort to (expensive) new fibre plant installation. Next to providing a sheer capacity increase, optical signal multiplexing also opens the way to optical signal routing for flexible allocation of the access network resources to the end users, to meet e.g. fluctuating capacity demands. As an attractive optical signal routing technique, wavelength routing will be considered. Depending on the preferred topology of the fibre network, optical crossconnect nodes or add/drop/continue nodes will be investigated, supporting various signal distribution modes (uni-cast, multi-cast, broadcast) as required by the services to be provisioned. Ethernet-based signals up to 10 GbE need to be transported; also radio-over-fibre signals for dynamic allocation of wireless capacity (such as WLAN IEEE802.11g and beyond). Wavelength routing has proven its potential in core and metropolitan networks, but significant cost reductions both in technology and in network concepts have to be achieved for an economic roll-out potential in access. Moreover, also inside large buildings such as company offices dynamic network reconfiguration is of interest to meet the frequent office reallocations.
The match of high capacity together with routing intelligence and upgradability can be achieved with optical fibre communication techniques, in particular with the dynamic optical routing techniques as proposed in this project. Using these techniques, the aggregate capacity available from the local exchange can be partitioned flexibly among network areas in such a way that their traffic demands are adequately met. Key project items are a well-designed efficient fibre access network infrastructure, as well as cost-efficient optical devices, in particular at the user end. The latter requires advanced optical integrated circuits and materials.