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We consider WDM networks with lightpath switching where wavelengths may be converted, as required, along the lightpath. For efficient converter usage in such a network, sparse converter placement may be followed where only some of the network nodes are equipped with wavelength converters. Given the nominal network traffic pattern, we present a simple heuristic algorithm which may be used to determine the location of these converters for good network performance. For a network designed in this fashion, we consider the application of a path-metric based heuristic algorithm for lightpath routing and wavelength selection along the links of the selected route. Dynamic operation of the sparse converter network is considered using this path-metric based algorithm for lightpath routing and wavelength selection.