European researchers have announced a plan to implement a single, all-optical switching system in response to rising data traffic in telecommunications systems. The electronic switching layers between optical networks form a bottleneck that limits data transmission. To eliminate the problem, European countries would have to invest in an array of electronic technology solutions such as asynchronous transfer mode cross-connects and switches. A switchless optical network could provide a suitable alternative, passively routing signals and providing active wavelength conversion at a single hub. The network would offer end-to-end optical connections to both business and residential customers. At the same time, it would not require complex nodes for optical multiplexing. Participants include Centro Studi E Laboratori Telecomunicazioni, Politecnico di Torino and Coritel, all in Italy; BT Laboratories, UK; ETH-Zurich, Switzerland; Instruments SA and Thomson-CSF, France; Interuniversity Micro Electronics Centre VZW, Belgium; and Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, Spain.