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This paper presents a collection of approximation formulas that allow a network planner to quickly estimate the size of a mesh optical network with limited inputs. In particular, it provides a set of equations that relate number of sites, average fiber connectivity, demand load and capacity for various mesh protection architectures. These results can be used to easily and quickly estimate the amount of traffic that can be carried over a given network, or, conversely, given the traffic to be supported, to assess the characteristics of the topology required (in terms of number of nodes, connectivity). Finally, this analysis can be used to estimate the restoration performance that can be expected without resorting to extensive simulation studies.