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This paper looks at several aspects of optical layer protection techniques from an implementation perspective. We discuss the factors that affect the complexity of optical protection schemes, such as supporting mesh instead of ring protection, handling low-priority traffic, and dealing with multiple types of failures. The paper also looks at how the client layer interacts with the optical layer with respect to protection, in terms of how client connections are mapped into the optical layer, and how protection schemes in both layers can work together in efficient ways. Finally, we describe several interesting optical protection implementations, focusing on the ones that are different from conventional SONET-like implementations.