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This paper considers the problem of online provisioning and restoration of sharable, restorable connections in a mesh-based optical network. First, we propose a new framework called distributed path selection with local information (DPLI) and discuss in detail a control and management protocol to set up and tear down connections and determine restoration capacity sharability in a distributed manner. Since only local information is maintained at each node, protocol scalability is not a big concern. Second, we discuss the important problem of the network's ability to quickly recover from element failures. We propose a new rapid restoration signaling that minimizes the service interruption time upon the occurrence of a failure in a network with preplanned restoration paths. The significant contribution of this new algorithm is that the connection restoration time is found to be independent of the restoration path length (i.e., eliminating the effect of the propagation delay), of the accumulation of the switch configuration time along the restoration path, and of the switch configuration waiting time at any particular node when multiple configuration requests arrive simultaneously. We evaluate through simulation experiments the effectiveness of the proposed protocols.