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A lot of work is going into understanding and defining the structure and functionalities of the future optical network. From the first optical networks that was characterized solely by a standardised way of using optical transmission systems in between the network nodes, the optical technology has matured and evolved in many ways, enabling more sophisticated functionalities and features. A large amount of these proposals are aiming at offloading or complementing the higher layers of the network and actually introduce real network functionalities into the optical domain. A significant part of this is a more dynamic (and more efficient?) exploitation of the bandwidth resources in the optical fiber, driven by an expected change in the behaviour of service and user demand, where general over provisioning is unrealistic (mainly due to the reduced ration between access bandwidth and bandwidth used in the core of the network).