Decreasing EDFA transients by power shaping

Multi-wavelength optical networks make extensive use of erbium-doped optical amplifiers (EDFAs) to offset the effects of fiber attenuation and signal power splitting. As optical networking moves towards burst and packet switching, the effects of changes of optical power levels on one wavelength, or channel, can have an impact on the behavior of other wavelengths passing through the same amplifier and impair network performance. We have observed in our simulations of EDFA operation that both the amplitude and duration of EDFA transients will decrease when gradual changes are made to the input power of the EDFA. It was also verified in [D.H. Richards, J.L. Jackel, M.A. Ali, A theoretical investigation of dynamic all-optical automatic gain control in multichannel EDFA’s and EDFA cascades, J. Select. Top. Quantum Electron. 3 (4) (1997)] that the switching time of the channel dropping operation can influence the amplitude and duration of EDFA transients. We show that this effect can be exploited to successfully suppress EDFA transients by power shaping. Our approach is to increase/decrease the power of an added/dropped channel gradually, rather than abruptly. Power shaping can be implemented by adapting existing link layer protocols. It is general and can be applied to amplifiers using different technologies, including EDFAs, solid state and Raman amplifiers.

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