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In this paper, the authors propose a next-generation hybrid WDM/TDM optical access network architecture called Stanford University aCCESS or SUCCESS. This architecture provides practical migration steps from current-generation time-division multiplexing (TDM)-passive optical network (PONs) to future WDM optical access networks. The architecture is backward compatible for users on existing TDM-PONs, while simultaneously capable of providing upgraded high-bandwidth services to new users on DWDM-PONs through advanced WDM techniques. The SUCCESS architecture is based on a collector ring and several distribution stars connecting the CO and the users. A semipassive configuration of the Remote Nodes (RNs) enables protection and restoration, making the network resilient to power failures. A novel design of the OLT and DWDM-PON ONUs minimizes the system cost considerably: 1) tunable lasers and receivers at the OLT are shared by all ONUs on the network to reduce the transceiver count and 2) the fast tunable lasers not only generate downstream data traffic but also provide DWDM-PON ONUs with optical CW bursts for their upstream data transmission. Results from an experimental system testbed support the feasibility of the proposed SUCCESS architecture. Also, simulation results of the first SUCCESS DWDM-PON MAC protocol verify that it can efficiently provide bidirectional transmission between the OLT and ONUs over multiple wavelengths with a small number of tunable transmitters and receivers.