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We address a problem of finding an optimal node placement that minimizes the amount of traffics by reducing the weighted hop distances in multihop lightwave networks. The problem is called Node Placement Problem (NPP). NPP is known to be NP-hard and one of the most important problems in wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) based networks. In this paper we propose a new local search algorithm for the NPP based on variable depth search, and show its extension to an iterated local search algorithm. To evaluate the performance of the proposed methods, we provided the benchmark instances with known optimal solutions, and performed extensive experiments on the instances. The computational results showed that our iterated local search outperformed multistart local search methods and the best available metaheuristic for the problem.