Abstract

Metro-area networks are likely to create the right conditions for the deployment of few-mode transmission (FMT) due to limited metro distances and rapidly increasing metro traffic. To address the new network design problems arising with the adoption of FMT, integer linear programming (ILP) formulations have already been developed to optimally assign modulation formats, baud rates, and transmission modes to lightpaths, but these formulations lack scalability, especially when they incorporate accurate constraints to capture inter-modal coupling. In this paper, we propose a heuristic approach for the routing, modulation format, baud rate and spectrum allocation in FMT networks with arbitrary topology, accounting for inter-modal coupling and for distance-adaptive reaches of few-mode (specifically, up to five modes) signals generated by either full multi-in multi-out (MIMO) or low-complexity MIMO transceivers and for two different switching scenarios (i.e., spatial full-joint and fractional-joint switching). In our illustrative numerical analysis, we first confirm the quasi-optimality of our heuristic by comparing it to the optimal ILP solutions, and then we use our heuristic to identify which switching scenario and FMT transceiver technology minimize spectrum occupation and transceiver costs, depending on the relative costs of transceiver equipment and dark fiber leasing.

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