Optical networks providing services to users such as companies, governmental institutions, and private citizens, have been expanding at a dramatic rate in recent years in order to support the corresponding explosive growth of bandwidth-rich applications and are considered as one of the critical infrastructures of a country. Critical infrastructure is a term used by governments to describe assets vital to national security, governance, public health and safety, economy, and public confidence. It is therefore essential to establish a set of best practices for protecting the country’s critical infrastructures.

As in next-generation optical networks the signal will remain in the optical domain for portion of the path or even for the entire path, making them more vulnerable to physical layer attacks, security issues in these networks are of paramount importance. An attack can be defined as an intentional action against the ideal and secure functioning of the network. The project “Security enhancement of optIcal nEtwork Logical Design” (SHIELD) is a research effort focusing on the logical design of secure next-generation optical networks. The logical design problem of optical networks is referred to the process of finding paths and wavelengths (lightpaths) to requested connections. This problem, known as the Routing and Wavelength Assignment (RWA) is considered as one of the most important problems in optical network design. The project focus on providing flexibility in the utilization of resources to minimize the CAPital Expenditures (CAPEX) and Operational EXpenditures (OPEX) costs, such as monetary cost and power consumption, while offering security capabilities against physical layer attacks.

The research is funded by the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA Grant Agreement n° 630853.