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The objective of this research is to propose two new optical procedures for packet routing and forwarding in the framework of transparent optical networks. The single-wavelength label-recognition and packet-forwarding unit, which represents the central physical constituent of the switching node, is fully described in both cases. The first architecture is a hybrid opto-electronic structure relying on an optical serial-to- parallel converter designed to slow down the label processing. The remaining switching operations are done electronically. The routing system remains transparent for the packet payloads. The second architecture is an all-optical architecture and is based on the implementation of all-optical decoding of the parallelized label. The packet-forwarding operations are done optically. The major subsystems required in both of the proposed architectures are described on the basis of nonlinear effects in semiconductor optical amplifiers. The experimental results are compatible with the integration of the whole architecture. Those subsystems are a 4-bit time-to-wavelength converter, a pulse extraction circuit, a an optical wavelength generator, a 3times8 all-optical decoder and a packet envelope detector.