A digital optical switch
Optical fiber communications is already a well developed technology and fibers are being installed in the field at an ever growing rate. It is therefore somewhat surprising to realize that the optical network has been limited so far to point-to-point communications. Any manipulation of the signal, and in particular switching and routing, is performed after the optical signal is converted to an electrical signal. Direct switching and routing of light signals is one of the functions that the developing technology of integrated optics promises to accomplish.
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