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Advance reservation is a useful network service that can not only provide guaranteed services for real-time applications but also allow networks to better plan their resource allocations. In this paper, we explore advance reservation in optical networks and focus on the design of effective routing and wavelength assignment (RWA) algorithms to support advance reservation service in wavelength-routed WDM networks. We first introduce the advance reservation concept and present an advance reservation model. Based on this reservation model, we study the design of effective RWA algorithms for different types of advance reservation and give some example algorithms. We also discuss related issues involved in supporting the coexistence of advance and immediate reservations. In addition, we briefly review some related work on advance reservation and the underlying RWA problem in wavelength-routed WDM networks.