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We study the complexity of a set of design problems for optical networks. Under wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology, demands sharing a common fiber are transported on distinct wavelengths. Multiple fibers may be deployed on a physical link. Our basic goal is to design networks of minimum cost, minimum congestion and maximum throughput. This translates to three variants in the design objectives: 1) MlN-SUMFlBER: minimizing the total cost of fibers deployed to carry all demands; 2) MlN-MAXFlBER: minimizing the maximum number of fibers per link to carry all demands; and 3) MAX-THROUGHPUT: maximizing the carried demands using a given set of fibers. We also have two variants in the design constraints: 1) CHOOSEROUTE: Here we need to specify both a routing path and a wavelength for each demand; 2) FIXEDROUTE: Here we are given demand routes and we need to specify wavelengths only. The FIXEDROUTE variant allows us to study wavelength assignment in isolation. Combining these variants, we have six design problems. Previously we have shown that general instances of the problems MIN-SUMFIBER-CHOOSEROUTE and MIN-MAXFIBER-FIXEDROUTE have no constant-approximation algorithms. In this paper, we prove that a similar statement holds for all four other problems. Our main result shows that MIN-SUMFIBER-FIXEDROUTE cannot be approximated within any constant factor unless NP-hard problems have efficient algorithms. This, together with the previous hardness result of MIN-MAXFIBER-FIXEDROUTE, shows that the problem of wavelength assignment is inherently hard by itself. We also study the complexity of problems that arise when multiple demands can be time-multiplexed onto a single wavelength (as in time-domain wavelength interleaved networking (TWIN) networks) and when wavelength converters can be placed along the path of a demand.