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The HORNET architecture is a packet-over-wavelength-division-multiplexing ring network that utilizes fast-tunable packet transmitters and wavelength routing to enable it to scale cost-effectively to ultrahigh capacities. In this paper, we present the HORNET architecture and a novel control-channel-based media access control protocol. The survivability of the architecture is demonstrated with an experimental laboratory testbed. Mathematical analysis of the architecture shows that the wavelength routed network can scale to relatively large sizes ranging between 30 and 50 nodes, depending on the component performance. This is true even for arrangements that do not contain high-power optical amplifiers in every node.