Project Summary

Over the last 40 years, network traffic has consistently grown at an exponential rate, and there is no indication this relentless trend will cease. At present, industry is hard-pressed to identify how future networks will continue to scale in capacity, energy consumption, and economic viability as present day technologies are being stretched to their limits. The nascent technology of space-domain multiplexing (SDM) for high capacity transmission is the only solution with the scaling potential to meet future demands. However, there is still a large technological chasm between the transport solution and the SDM network implementation.
INSPACE proposes a novel networking approach by extending the established spectral flexibility concepts to the SDM domain and significantly simplifying the super-channel allocation and control mechanisms, by removing current limitations related with the wavelength continuity and fragmentation issues. The new concept utilises the benefits of the high capacity, next generation, few-mode/multi-core fiber infrastructures, providing also a practical short term solution, since it is directly applicable over the currently installed multi-fibre cable links. The realisation of INSPACE approach is enabled by the development of novel multi-dimensional spatial-spectral switching nodes, which are fabricated by extending the designs of the existing flexible WSS nodes, incorporating advance mode/core adapting techniques. The concept is further supported by novel processing techniques that minimise the mode/core interference as well as new network planning algorithms and control plane extensions that are enhanced with the space dimension. The INSPACE consortium forms a strong industry driven research team targeting not only the demonstration of the new network concept and its ability to meet the challenges of delivering exponentially growing content over the next twenty years, but also the full exploitation of its potential towards commercialisation.

The proposed approach

INSPACE introduces a novel logical hierarchical structure for next generation multidimensional dynamic and elastic optical networks, based on enabling switching, transmission and processing technologies that allow the connection between spectral and spatial networking.


The two main themes of the proposal are:

  • To explore the additional degrees of freedom in signal multiplexing (offered by the latest advances in both multi-mode and multi-core fibre systems), with the purpose to exploit the emerging networking benefits arising from a combined Spatial/Spectral/Signal coding domain:
    • Design multi-dimensional resource allocation algorithms and study the required control plane extensions
    • Study the benefits of multi-dimensional signal allocation in terms of resource optimisation, energy consumption reductions and system cost savings
  • To examine the capabilities of the enabling technologies in support of the multi-dimensional networking concept by focusing on:
    • Node switching hardware adapted to support SDM fiber links (SMF array/FMF/MCF) addressing the spatial and spectral domains
    • Interfacing technology to match the SDM transmission (Mode structure/core location) by demultiplexing to SMF edge arrangements
    • Interplay between transmission format, electronic MIMO processing, switching solution effects, and information capacity.


  1. Definition of the next generation flexible optical networking functions and capabilities enabled by the introduction of spatial-spectral switching nodes
  2. Design and development of spatial-spectral WSS-based switching node
  3. Development of advanced link designs and MIMO digital signal techniques for MCF/FMF transmission impairments mitigation
  4. Development of routing and resource allocation algorithms for network planning
  5. Development of control plane extensions and interfaces with the spatial-spectral routing node
  6. Integration and performance evaluation of the INSPACE spatial-spectral optical networking system
  7. Techno-economic and energy efficiency evaluation of the INSPACE network solution considering also the migration scenarios from current deployed networks and offered solutions
  8. INSPACE technology exploitation, dissemination of project results and contribution to standards
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