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Rapidly increasing network traffic is posing a challenge to the construction of future routers. While high-capacity transport has kept pace with rising traffic demands through the use of dense wavelength-division multiplexing, the scaling of core routers is slowed by power density limits and complexity and interconnectivity issues. Optical switching has the potential to overcome these scaling restrictions, and as a result, has generated great scientific and commercial interest. In this paper, we present an overview of some optical packet-switching architectures and describe components and subsystems that are required to enable this technology.