Implementation of STARNET: A WDM computer communications network

Ting Kuang Chiang, Sanjay K. Agrawal, Derek T. Mayweather, Dan Sadot, Charles F. Barry, Michael Hickey, Leonid G. Kazovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


STARNET is a broadband backbone optical wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) local area network (LAN). Based on a physical passive star topology, STARNET offers all users two logical subnetworks: a high-speed reconfigurable packet-switched data subnetwork and a moderate-speed fix-tuned packet-switched control subnetwork. Thus, STARNET supports traffic with a wide range of speed and continuity characteristics. We report the analysis and implementation of an entire STARNET two-node network, from the optical to the computer layer, at the Optical Communications Research Laboratory (OCRL) of Stanford University. To implement the two logical subnetworks, we designed and implemented two different techniques: combined modulation and multichannel subcarrier multiplexing (MSCM). OCRL has already demonstrated several combined modulation techniques such as phase shift-keyed and amplitude shift-keyed (PSK/ASK), and differential phase shift-keyed and amplitude shift-keyed (DPSK/ASK), yielding combined ASK/DPSK modulation receiver sensitivities better than -32 dBm. OCRL has designed and implemented a high-speed high-performance packet-switched STARNET computer interface which enables high-throughput transfer to/from host computer, low latency switching, traffic prioritization, and capability of multicasting and broadcasting. With this interface board, OCRL has achieved average transmit and receive throughputs of 685 Mb/s and 571 Mb/s, respectively, out of the 800 Mb/s theoretical maximum of the host computer bus. The incurred packet latency due to the interface for a specified multihop network configuration has been simulated to be 24 μs. Using simulation and experimental results, it is shown that STARNET is highly suitable for high-speed multimedia network applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)824-838
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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