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Power consumption of routers is considered to become a serious bottleneck in scaling up the bandwidth of communication networks and signal-processing systems. Development of power-efficient photonic devices is crucial in tackling this problem. The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss technical potential and present status of semiconductor-based photonic switching devices, which will be the key in the future photonic systems. A particular emphasis is placed on high-speed semiconductor optical amplifiers, and ultrafast, all-optical signal-processing devices.