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One of the key issues when designing an optical transport network is how to ensure survivability in the event of a network failure. With the increased penetration of dynamic DWDM networks the demand for new, reliable, and flexible protection schemes at the optical layer rises. Furthermore, over the last several years, enormous advances have been made in optical component technologies. As a result, all-optical components, such as the optical switch, now offer additional functionalities. This article examines the applicability of new and legacy all-optical switching technologies to serve as building blocks for different protection applications.