FLEX-SCALE advances disruptive research on complementary optical x-haul (x = front/mid/back) network technologies for Optical Switching Nodes and their Transceiver Interfaces. Enabling flexible capacity scaling of 10 Tb/s rate per interface, 1 Pb/s capacity per link, and 10 Pb/s throughput per optical node. And that by utilising ultra-high bandwidth photonic/plasmonic technologies and efficiently exploiting optical spatial and spectral switching (UltraWide - Band Spectral & Spatial Lanes Multiplexing; UWB/SDM). The developed x-haul 6G optical network innovations will achieve record energy efficiency (sub-pJ per switched/transmitted bit) and low cost, enabled by photonic integration and optical transparency, replacing/bypassing power-hungry and costly electronic processing systems.
Allowing convergence of UWB and SDM in networks
Via implementation of a novel ≥10 Pb/s multi-granular optical node (MG-ON) that takes advantage of both spectral and spatial dimensions available in optical communications systems, with a primary focus on the exploitation of new wavelength bands across multiple spatial lanes utilising the WBSS capabilities.
Supporting the evolution of single-fibre I/O interfaces
Via the replacement of power-hungry and bandwidth-limited electronic digital-to-analog converters (eDACs) in ultra-high-speed transceivers with energy-efficient all-optical DACs (oDACs). These single-fibre, single-wavelength I/O interfaces can extend to Pb/s capacity links using spectral and spatial multiplexing.
Novel ML and Software-based Transport Control
New autonomous SDN control, streaming telemetry and ML-enabled data analytics architectures, and energy-efficient routing algorithms This will reduce energy consumption while maintaining a low blocking probability under dynamic traffic with QoS.
All-optical approaches together with Silicon Photonics transformational devices play a key role in FLEXSCALE. The developments aim to realise low TRL technologies, e.g. WBSS, oDAC that will enable 6G x-haul and backbone networks to scale-up capacity and transport information at greater power efficiency. FLEX-SCALE addresses 6G’s transport challenges with the technology innovations of MG-ON supporting SDM/UWB networking, high-capacity oDAC-based TRx and SDN control & orchestration. Strengthening European leadership in these fields.