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The paper presents a new architecture, called photonic burst switching (PBS), with variable time slot provisioning, supporting high-speed bursty data transmission within hop and span-constrained networks. First, the edge and switching node architecture for in-band and out-of-band signaling is defined with optical switch fabric performance parameters. Second, the edge router regions of operation for burst assembly are studied via simulations. Third, we introduce: (i) a GMPLS-based PBS software architecture in terms of control and data plane operations that is extended to enable the PBS optical interfaces with software building blocks for edge and switching nodes; (ii) an adaptive PBS MAC layer functionality and framing of multiple generic payloads. The integration of the proposed PBS network architecture with low-cost optical switching fabrics and GMPLS-based software architecture should provide the means for robust and efficient optical transport of bandwidth-demanding applications within enterprise networks.