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Metro wavelength-division multiplexed (WDM) networks play an important role in the emerging Internet hierarchy; they interconnect the backbone WDM networks and the local-access networks. The current circuit-switched SONET/synchronous digital hierarchy (SDH)-over-WDM-ring metro networks are expected to become a serious bottleneck-the so-called metro gap-as they are faced with an increasing amount of bursty packet data traffic and quickly increasing bandwidths in the backbone networks and access networks. Innovative metro WDM networks that are highly efficient and able to handle variable-size packets are needed to alleviate the metro gap. In this paper, we study an arrayed-waveguide grating (AWG)-based single-hop WDM metro network. We analyze the photonic switching of variable-size packets with spatial wavelength reuse. We derive computationally efficient and accurate expressions for the network throughput and delay. Our extensive numerical investigations-based on our analytical results and simulations-reveal that spatial wavelength reuse is crucial for efficient photonic packet switching. In typical scenarios, spatial wavelength reuse increases the throughput by 60% while reducing the delay by 40%. Also, the throughput of our AWG-based network with spatial wavelength reuse is roughly 70% larger than the throughput of a comparable single-hop WDM network based on a passive star coupler (PSC).