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  3. NEC Develops 20Tbps Optical Signal Switching Device using Silicon Integrated Optical Switches

NEC Develops World's First Ultra High Capacity 20Tbps Optical Signal Switching Device using Silicon Integrated Optical Switches- Advancing the commercialization of next-generation optical network equipment -

*** For immediate use September 12, 2012

Tokyo, September 12, 2012
- NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701) has developed an optical switching device capable of changing between a variety of transmission paths (routes) using silicon photonic technologies (optical circuits using silicon-based semiconductors) with ultra high capacity 20Tbps optical signals.

In recent years, data traffic on metro and core optical networks is continuing to increase along with the widespread use of smartphones and cloud computing. As a result, there is growing demand for low-power optical network technologies that are highly flexible and optimize the efficiency of network resources.

In order to provide these kinds of technologies, a transponder aggregator (TPA) that supports multiple signal formats and features a color-less, direction-less, contention-less (CDC) Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM, *1) is required. However, as the number of transponders and routes increase, power consumption and the scale of switches also increase.

"NEC's new developments utilize TPA and produce compact modules featuring silicon integrated optical switches that boast 150 elements on a single chip. This enables the switching of large 48-unit transponders between 8 routes while capitalizing on CDC functions," said Naoki Nishi, General Manager, Green Platform Research Laboratories, NEC Corporation. "We now anticipate the incorporation of this TPA on a single board as well as the reduction of module size and power consumption by roughly 90% when compared to optical switches based on conventional silica optical waveguides. Furthermore, the optimized drive of each switch will enable us to provide high speed, stable signal switching."

This switch device achieved high quality transmissions, without signal deterioration, during tests of large capacity optical signal switching using optical super channel technologies (20Tbps) that can support the traffic increases that are expected in the future.

Key features of these technologies are as follows:

  1. Scalable switch configuration that supports growing capacity
    Compact modules equipped with a newly developed ultra compact optical switch chip integrated with 150 elements using silicon photonic technologies. These modules enable a switch configuration whose scale can be increased in response to the number of transponders. Each of these large capacity TPA cards carries 12 switch modules with 8 input / 8 output capability and 48 bi-directional ports.

  2. Minimal crosstalk within switches and suppressed signal deterioration from switching routes
    NEC developed a device for suppressing optical mixing (crosstalk) from undesired signals that occurs when switching between multiple optical signals within a switch. This suppresses crosstalk that arises after multiple stages of switching to less than 1/10,000 the level of cases that are not suppressed, and eliminates signal deterioration from route switching during transmission for a variety of optical signals, including 20Tbps super channel and 100 Gbps DP-QPSK.

  3. High speed switching achieved by optimizing the drive for highly integrated switches
    A driver and controller were developed(*2) for the synchronization and switching of the optical switches that are embedded within each small module. This enables the dynamic operation of multiple route CDC-ROADM devices while significantly suppressing fluctuations in signal quality and achieving high speed switching in 30μ seconds or less.

NEC will continue to advance this research and development, seeking to commercialize optical switch devices equipped with these technologies by the close of the fiscal year ending in March 2014.

NEC presents these technologies at Photonics in Switching 2012 (PS 2012), an international conference on optical switching from 11 - 14 September 2012 in Corsica, France (

NEC also presents these technologies at ECOC 2012, an international conference on optical transmission technologies from 16 - 20 September 2012 in Amsterdam, Holland

These technologies were developed as part of the Vertically Integrated Center for Technologies of Optical Routing toward Ideal Energy Savings (VICTORIES) project operated by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and supported by the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's project for the improvement of innovation systems.


About NEC Corporation
NEC Corporation is a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world. By providing a combination of products and solutions that cross utilize the company's experience and global resources, NEC's advanced technologies meet the complex and ever-changing needs of its customers. NEC brings more than 100 years of expertise in technological innovation to empower people, businesses and society. For more information, visit NEC at

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*1) Reconfigurable Optical Add/Drop Multiplexer (ROADM):
A device that can add, block, pass or redirect modulated infrared (IR) and visible light beams of various wavelengths in a fiber optic network.

*2) Joint development with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

NEC Press Contacts (Japan)

Takehiko Kato
NEC Corporation

Joseph Jasper
NEC Corporation