A Novel Simulation Methodology for Silicon Photonic Switching Fabrics

Markos Kynigos, Javier Navaridas, Jose Pascual, Mikel Luján

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Optical communication based on silicon photonics is a promising candidate for future networks. However, a key component that still presents challenges is a practical, silicon photonics-based, high performance switch with a high port count. The impracticality of buffering traffic in the optical domain mandates the use of circuit switching at the transmission level. This renders the photonic power penalty dependent on many factors, including architectural aspects and, most importantly, the switch load. Since the latter changes dynamically with network traffic we argue that simulating silicon photonics-based switches requires considering the photonic power penalty under dynamic workloads, which is not supported by state-of-the-art techniques. In this paper, we show how to simultaneously simulate both the overall switch as well as the photonic power penalty, by proposing a novel combination of the bufferless nature of photonic fabrics, flow-level simulation and optical beam propagation modelling. This approach enables a simulator to consider different kinds of switching fabrics and photonic components. We focus on how to model Benes photonic switching fabrics formed with ˇ Mach-Zehnder Interferometers and consider their deployment as switching cores for top-of-rack switches. We compare our simulation with the published data from two fabricated chips and found accuracy is within 0.5dB with respect to insertion loss, and within 3dB with respect to crosstalk. As a use-case, we evaluate the impact of routing algorithms on the photonic power penalty and found this can reduce the worst-case photonic power penalty by up to 4dB.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2023
Event2023 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software - Raleigh, United States
Duration: 23 Apr 202325 Apr 2023


Conference2023 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software
Abbreviated titleISPASS-2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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