Transport networks based on optical technologies are currently facing two major challenges: on one side, the amount of traffic is increasingly growing, driven by high-definition video distribution services and increasing high-speed broadband penetration through both fixed and mobile terminals. On the other side, the so called “unlimited” amount of bandwidth available with the optical fiber technologies are currently facing its upper bound, mainly due to the rigid allocation of wavelength within the used fiber spectrum. Therefore, the need for newer approaches toward more spectrum efficient technologies in optical transport networks is dramatically rising.
A promising option is represented by the flexible optical networking (and the relative terms adopted in literature, such as “flexible”, “elastic”, “gridless”), a concept introduced in the research community as a way to fix those issues. It is expected to provide enhanced spectrum management with respect to the currently deployed fixed-grid solution and to be able to scale to match the capacity requirements of future systems.
The goal of the FLEXIGO research project is to design and assess distributed architectures, algorithms, and techniques for the optical control plane, which can handle the flexible spectrum technology.