A $6.3 million grant will help a research team led by a group at UCSB revolutionize Internet routers.

The university announced Monday that the federal Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) had awarded $6.3 million to the LASOR research team (Label Switched Optical Router). The 40-person LASOR team includes groups at UCSB and Stanford, as well as leading technology companies Agility Communications, Calient Networks, Cisco Systems Inc. and JDS Uniphase. The team’s research aims to advance optical router technology to beyond 100 Terabits per second (Tbps), or about 100 times the capacity of current state-of-the-art routers.

“One of the things that is happening is that power dissipation from electronics is starting to push systems to their limits,” team leader and UCSB computer and electrical engineering professor Daniel Blumenthal said. “Instead of switching the data packets from optics to electronics over and over, which burns a lot of energy, we keep them optical. It’s less energy consumptive.”

DARPA will review the LASOR team’s performance after 18 months, and again a year after that, with the option of extending the grant to four years and a total of $15.8 million.