We describe an architecture and medium access control (MAC) protocol for wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) networks. Our system is based on a broadcast star architecture and uses an unslotted access protocol and a centralized scheduler to efficiently provide bandwidth-on-demand in WDM networks. To overcome the effects of propagation delays the scheduler measures the delays between the terminals and the hub and takes that delay into account when scheduling transmissions. Simple scheduling algorithms, based on a look-ahead capability, are used to overcome the effects of head-of-line blocking. An important application area for this system is in optical access networks, where this novel MAC protocol can be used to access wavelengths in a WDM passive optical network (PON).