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Marco Ruffini

Principal Investigator

Dr. Marco Ruffini received his M.Eng. in telecommunications in 2002 from Polytechnic University of Marche, Italy. After working as a research scientist for Philips in Germany, he joined Trinity College Dublin in 2005, where he received his Ph.D. in 2007. Since 2010, he has been Assistant Professor (tenured 2014) at TCD. He is Principal Investigator (PI) of both the CONNECT Telecommunications Research Centre at TCD, and the IPIC photonics integration centre headquartered at the national Tyndall institute. Dr. Ruffini is currently involved in several Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and H2020 projects, and leads the Optical Network Architecture group at Trinity College Dublin. His main research is in the area of 5G optical networks, where he carries out pioneering work on the convergence of fixed-mobile and access-metro networks, and on the virtualisation of next generation networks, and has been invited to share his vision through several keynote and talks at major international conferences across the world. He has authored over 110 international publications, over 10 patents and contributed to the BroadBand Forum standardisation body.


My research interests are next generation networks, including passive optical networks, metro transmission networks, Software-Defined-Networks, convergence of mobile, fixed and cloud networking, network slicing and virtualisation. Part of my work involves the use of experimental testbeds validation, in the area of passive optical networks, multi-wavelength systems, cloud Radio Access Network and Network Function Virtualisation.

Summary DISCUS will analyse, design, and demonstrate a complete end-to-end architecture and technologies for an economically viable, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable future-proof optical network. It will provide a revolution in communications networks applicable across Europe and the wider world exploiting to the full the opportunity offered by LR-PONS and flat optical core networks to produce a simplified and evolvable architecture which will be the foundation for communications for the long term future. The architecture will be ultra energy efficient, simple to operate, robust to new technology introduction and providing universal availability of bandwidth and features regardless of geographic location. This ideal is obtained by a clean-slate approach to the architectural design by universal application of optical technologies throughout the fixed network eliminating traditional demarcations of metro, regional, core and access. Thus our essential concept is to use advanced optical technologies throughout giving rise to economies of scale and allowing bandwidths and flexibility hitherto unimaginable. Specifically the DISCUS architecture will: scale gracefully and economically, over a common physical infrastructure, as FTTP drives bandwidth growth by three orders of magnitude or more. It will evolve from today’s architectures, adopting future technologies while co-existing with earlier generations. A unique feature will be a “Principle of Equivalence” whereby all network access points have equal bandwidth and service capability including core bandwidths (10Gb/s to 100+Gb/s) delivered to the access edge. It will seamlessly integrate wireless and fixed optical networks, fully exploiting both technologies. It will enable a competitive and simple regulatory environment controlled by customers and users rather than network operators and service providers.
Funding Agency European Commission
Date From November 2012
Date To October 2015
Summary O’SHARE aims at designing and demonstrating an SDN-based dynamic control and management platform for broadband access networks to enable efficient sharing of physical resources among multiple Network Operators and Service Providers. The main issue behind the sluggish deployment of high-speed and ubiquitous fibre access infrastructure is the long payback period. Besides the high upfront cost, the issue is exacerbated by the fact that many operators are considering Fibre-to-the-Home as a residential-only solution, which can only generate a small amount of revenue. In O’SHARE we aim at developing an SDN- based access network control framework that will enable convergence of multiple operators and services over the same physical infrastructure, thus increasing the revenue generated by the access network. This is achieved through two main innovations: open-access oriented interfaces, which will simplify network access by multiple network operators and service providers; and algorithms and techniques to virtualise Passive Optical Networks, leading to a more efficient exploitation of system resources. The theoretical work carried out in O’SHARE will be first tested through simulations and then implemented into a hardware testbed, which will lead up to an international demonstrator showcasing industry-led networking scenarios. O’SHARE will create the basis for an information-led society without digital divide.
Funding Agency SFI
Date From November 2015
Date To October 2019
Title Agile cloud service delivery using integrated photonics networking.
Summary Next generation transparent optical datacentres
Funding Agency SFI/NSF
Date From December 2015
Date To November 2018

Peer-Reviewed Publications

A. A. Dıaz-Montiel, S. Aladin, C. Tremblay and M. Ruffini, Active Wavelength Load as a Feature for QoTEstimation Based on Support Vector Machine, IEEE International Conference on Communications, 2019, pp1 – 6Conference Paper, 2019

Software Defined Networking and Network Function Virtualisation for converged access-metro networks in, Optical and Wireless Convergence for 5G Networks, Wiley, 2019, pp30 , [Marco Ruffini and Frank Slyne]Book Chapter, 2019 Other

M. Ruffini, F. Slyne, Moving the Network to the Cloud: the Cloud Central Office Revolution and its Implications for the Optical Layer, Journal of Lightwave Technology, 2019, p1 – 11Journal Article, 2019 TARA – Full Text DOI

All 154 peer-reviewed publications


Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

M. Ruffini, D. O’Mahony, L. Doyle, CTVR-2: The vision, the technology: the network, HEAnet workshopDublinJune 2010, 2010, HEAnetInvited Talk, 2010

D. O’Mahony, M. Ruffini, Optical IP Switching – A Responsive Solution for Grid Interconnect, International Workshop on Autonomic Grid Networking and ManagementDublin2006, 2006Conference Paper, 2006

M. Ruffini, Optical IP Switching & UCLP, UCLP WorkshopEdinburgh, UKAugust 2006, 2006Invited Talk, 2006



Awards and Honours

Fellow of The University of Dublin, Trinity College.

Senior IEEE member

Ireland’s Champions of EU Research 2012, presented by Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins

My research activity appeared in the TCD Provost Annual Review 2012-2013

Best paper award at Asia Communications and Photonics Conference (ACP)

Awarded best paper award at IEEE Optical Network Design and Modeling Conference (ONDM) 2016.




Elected steering committee member for the European Technology Platform for communications networks and services (NetWorld2020) forum.

TCD representative for the European Technology Platform for communications networks and services (NetWorld2020)

TCD representative for the Broadband Forum standardisation group

IEEE member (senior from 2015) and communications society member

Member of Italian Engineers Associations



Associated Editor for the IEEE/OSA Journal of Optical Communications and Networking (JOCN)
since 2018

Associate Editor of the Springer Photonic Network Communications

Managing editor of the Elsevier Optical Fibre Technology special issue on Access networks.

Member of the EPSRC (UK) Associate College, for providing peer reviews of EPSRC funding applicarions

External examiner for the PhD committee of candidate Cristophe Van Praet, from IMEC, University of Ghent, in Belgium, December 2013.

External Ph.D examiner for Alvaro Fernandez Fernandez, from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

External examiner for the research master student Sidhant Hasija from Waterford Institute of Technology