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Word Count: 799
Different Kinds of Optical Switches The biggest problem with creating an all-optical network would be the switching re-routing the information from source A to destination B When information is sent it does not flow directly from point A to point B It passes through a series of switches that narrow the path down and eventually the signal reaches point B These switches have thousands of possible routes which information can be transfered Right now the optical networks that stretch across the globe switches electronically This is a huge set back if you are trying to make a network that works at the speed of light Light travels at about 982080000 feet per second and electrons at 300000 ftsec So when an optical network uses an electronic switch the light first has to be converted to an electronic signal then it has to go through the switch and finally the electrons are converted back to a light beam This process only takes a few milliseconds but these seconds can be compared to what an optical switch operates at which is nanoseconds The signal is slowed down so much that it can be compared to going down the highway at top speed then when you reach the off ramp you stop get out of your car stumble and walk awkwardly and slowly to the next onramp then you get back in a car and speed off at top speed Optical to electronic switches are more of an extreme the light is going over 3000 times faster than the electrons It is a very unnecessary and costly reduction in speed Many corporations have took interest in this problem and decided to take action by inventing optical prototype switches Some of which are faster then others but are all faster than optical-electric switches One of the best working switches is the MEMS Switch shown on diagram It uses mirrors that are less than half a millimeter in diameter
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