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Optical networks using wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) are the foremost solution to the ever-increasing traffic in the Internet backbone. Rapid advances in WDM technology will enable each fiber to carry hundreds or even a thousand wavelengths (using dense-WDM, or DWDM, and ultra-DWDM) of traffic. This, coupled with worldwide fiber deployment, will bring about a tremendous increase in the size of the optical cross-connects, i.e., the number of ports of the wavelength switching elements. Waveband switching (WBS), wherein wavelengths are grouped into bands and switched as a single entity, can reduce the cost and control complexity of switching nodes by minimizing the port count. This paper presents a detailed study on recent advances and open research issues in WBS networks. In this study, we investigate in detail the architecture for various WBS cross-connects and compare them in terms of the number of ports and complexity and also in terms of how flexible they are in adjusting to dynamic traffic. We outline various techniques for grouping wavelengths into bands for the purpose of WBS and show how traditional wavelength routing is different from waveband routing and why techniques developed for wavelength-routed networks (WRNs) cannot be simply applied to WBS networks. We also outline how traffic grooming of subwavelength traffic can be done in WBS networks. In part II of this study [Cao , submitted to J. Opt. Netw.], we study the effect of wavelength conversion on the performance of WBS networks with reconfigurable MG-OXCs. We present an algorithm for waveband grouping in wavelength-convertible networks and evaluate its performance. We also investigate issues related to survivability in WBS networks and show how waveband and wavelength conversion can be used to recover from failures in WBS networks.

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Xiaojun Cao, Vishal Anand, and Chunming Qiao, "Framework for waveband switching in multigranular optical networks: part I-multigranular cross-connect architectures [Invited]," J. Opt. Netw. 5, 1043-1055 (2006).

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Copyright 2006 Optical Society of America