In order to cope with the increase of the final user traffic, operators and vendors are pushing towards physical layer aware networking as a way to maximize the network capacity. To this aim, optical networks are becoming more and more open
by exposing physical parameters enabling fast and reliable estimation of the lightpath quality of transmission. This comes in handy not only from the point of view of the planning and managing of the optical paths but also on a more general picture of the whole optical network performance. In this work, the Statistical Network Assessment Process (SNAP) is presented. SNAP is an algorithm allowing for estimating different network metrics such as blocking probability or link saturation, by generating traffic requests on a graph abstraction of the physical layer. Being aware of the physical layer parameters and transceiver technologies enables assessing their impact on high level network figures of merit. Together with a detailed description of the algorithm, we present a comprehensive review of several results on the networking impact of multirate transceivers, flex-grid spectral allocation as a means to finely exploit lightpath capacity and of different Space Division Multiplexing (SDM) solutions.
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