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Packet contention is a major issue in asynchronous optical packet and burst switching networks. Optical buffering, which is implemented by fiber delay lines (FDLs), is fundamental to many optical switch implementations for resolving contention. Most existing optical buffering implementations are output-based and require a huge amount of FDLs as well as larger switch sizes, which impose extra cost on the overall system. In this paper, we consider shared optical buffering which can reduce the buffer size at a switch. Since no previous study is available to analyze the performance of asynchronous architectures with shared buffers, we propose an analytical model to evaluate the packet loss probability and the average delay for shared buffers at a single switch. We then compare the performance of output buffers to shared buffers under different granularities of FDLs. We observe that, by choosing an appropriate granularity, the shared buffering scheme can significantly reduce packet loss with much smaller switch sizes and fewer FDLs than the output buffering architecture. The accuracy of the analytical model is also confirmed by extensive simulation.