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The recent trend in optical networks is switching packets directly in the optical domain. The aim is to benefit from both packet flexibility and optical transparency. In this article, we review current optical architectures that try to reconcile these two requirements. We discuss the challenges encountered in these new architectures and their respective niches. To meet the requirements of next-generation high-speed optical networks, we also propose a new solution based on the distribution of the aggregation process in the network. The feasibility of this scheme and the benefit that it provides over existing solutions are analyzed in this article.