Evolving carrier networks are starting to include optical networking, but current optical elements form islands of communications, not the utopian “global intelligent optical network” that is the end goal. Although dense wavelength division multiplexer (DWDM) technology leverages the cost and availability of fiber, each wavelength in DWDM links needs its own transponder, an expensive O-E-O (opto-electrical-opto) device in which optical signals are converted back to their electrical (binary) format to process the information. In today’s carrier networks, O-E-O is needed to terminate each optical end point in order to deliver it in its correct format to the specific addressees using high-level format-dependent protocols. The presentation will discuss how 60-80% of all traffic that passes through an O-E-O switch at midpoints in a network typically does not require processing at those points and, in fact, get re-converted and re-transmitted. The equipment that does this costs millions of dollars; takes up more space; uses a lot of power (expense and heat); and creates additional opportunities for network failures. Adding O-O-O (photonic, or all–optical) switches to the architecture as needed allows higher speeds, less real estate, lower capital and operational expenditures, improved network reliability, and better customer response.