Navy

Reconfigurable, low-latency, fiber optic LAN

Nodes utilize WDM to route data signals between multiple end systems

Communications

Military aircraft utilize numerous sub-networks to communicate with and control various essential components and subsystems. The electrical wires connecting these networks add weight and reduce fuel efficiency. Rewiring the network is not cost effective unless the system is conducive to the integration of future technologies. To address these deficiencies, the Navy has invented a low-latency, fiber optic local area network (LAN) that may have further application across aviation, maritime and land-based communications.

The low-latency, fiber optic LAN includes both a design for a reconfigurable fiber-optic network and a method of routing signals using tunable wavelength converters and wavelength filters. This design utilizes wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology wherein multiple data streams are encoded on several carrier wavelengths. This enables an aircraft network to communicate using 128 different channels at the same time without interference. Switching to this fiber network allows for both aggregate data transfer at faster rates and valuable weight reduction. The network maximizes redundancy, ensuring continued communication in the event of battle damage or component failure. Depending on the exact configuration utilized a WDM LAN can handle more than a terabit of data throughput at all times, which enables data to travel more efficiently than through a conventional fiber-optic network.

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