CIAN - Strategic Plan

Welcome to the Center for Integrated Access Networks

The Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) is a multi-institutional research effort consisting of the University of Arizona (Lead)and its partner institutions, the University of California at San Diego, the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of California at Los Angeles, Norfolk State University and Tuskegee University. The vision of CIAN is to create transformative technologies for optical access networks where virtually any application requiring any resource can be seamlessly and efficiently aggregated and interfaced with existing and future core networks in a cost-effective manner. Analogous to the evolution over decades of today's computer laptop using massive integration of discrete electronic components, the CIAN vision would lead to the creation of the PC equivalent of the optical access network by employing optoelectronic integration to enable affordable and flexible access to any type of service, including delivery of data rates approaching 10 Gigabits/sec to a broad population base anywhere and at any time.

Headquarters :
University of Arizona , Tucson , AZ
Website links:
Web Site


Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), an NSF Engineering Research Center, est, 2008 University of Arizona; 1630 E. University Blvd.; Tucson, AZ 85721 Tel: 520/621-0157; Fax: 520/626-6219

Center for Integrated Access Networks Strategic Plan
The CIAN strategic plan integrates three major elements:

  1. Research thrusts with testbed activity

  2. Industrial collaborations and technology transfer

  3. Education, outreach, and diversity.

The existing network is typically divided into access, metropolitan (regional), and wide-area (or core/backbone), with optics being currently used mainly for optical point-to-point transport and electronics used mainly for routing and switching, especially at the aggregation points and interfaces between networks.

These separations and the optimization at each level have been established independent of one another. In addition, in the case of the core network, the optimization is also independent of the specific services required. It is inefficient to build a separate network to accommodate each required service. CIAN's vertically integrated research structure is designed to achieve our mission of creating fundamentally new integrated optoelectronic WDM subsystems for access network applications.

Therefore, the future network will still be divided into heterogeneous access networks that interface to the core through edge nodes. These edge nodes aggregate data and map application-specific services into standard core protocols.

Maintaining and cost-effectively scaling the high data rates in the existing core with the required flexibility of access networks defines the two principle research focus areas of CIAN:

  1. Transform expensive discrete components based subsystems into flexible cost-effective integrated optoelectronic subsystems to achieve a scaleable and affordable high data rate access network that is seamlessly interfaced to the core.

  2. Demonstrate flexible network functionalities that provide seamless interface between access and core and scalability by moving services from the higher layers of the network closer to the physical layer. This requires cross-layer optimization. For example, CIAN will develop a multicasting (one-to-many) service, typically implemented with a software protocol, using hardware–based nonlinear optical process at the physical layer in conjunction with cross-layer optimization. The result is a service that is more transparent to end-user applications.

College of Optical science & UCSD tesbed

CIAN's main operations are located at The University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences, which provides resources for both theoretical and applied research programs in all areas related to optics and the optical sciences.The center headquarters is on the 5th floor of a new 47,000 square-foot West Wing addition, completed in 2006.


The CIAN Grand Challenge Testbed, located on the campus of UCSD, is a shared research facility where CIAN's research from the various thrust is integrated, enabling collaborative research among CIAN participants and with the wider research and industrial community. UCSD's CalIT2 information technology facilities including contiguous laboratory space and unique test capabilities are at hand in order to achieve CIAN's testbed vision: