A new approach to network design, called ‘flow switching’ could make the Internet 100 or even 1,000 times faster while reducing the amount of energy it consumes. As reported PhysOrg, flow switching works by establishing a dedicated path across the network—between locations that exchange large volumes of data.
“In recent years, however, a group of MIT researchers led by Vincent Chan, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has demonstrated a new way of organizing optical networks that, in most cases, would eliminate this inefficient conversion process. As a result, it could make the Internet 100 or even 1,000 times faster while actually reducing the amount of energy it consumes.
“Chan’s approach, called ‘flow switching,’ solves this problem in a different way. Between locations that exchange large volumes of data — say, Los Angeles and New York City — flow switching would establish a dedicated path across the network. For certain wavelengths of light, routers along that path would accept signals coming in from only one direction and send them off in only one direction. Since there’s no possibility of signals arriving from multiple directions, there’s never a need to store them in memory.”