IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications

The rainbow-II gigabit optical network

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This paper describes the Rainbow-II optical metropolitan area network (MAN), which supports 32 nodes each at 1 Gbit/s over a distance of 10-20 km. Rainbow-II uses optical wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM), in a broadcast star architecture. Each node uses a separate fixed wavelength for transmitting data and a tunable receiver for receiving one of several data streams. The network is implemented in the form of optical network nodes, each attached to a host computer via the high-performance parallel interface (HIPPI). Each network node contains protocol processing hardware to offload the protocol processing work from the host computer onto the node. The goal is to provide full gigabit-per-second bandwidth to end-user supercomputer applications. Preliminary protocol performance measurements in a testbed network are given.