Optical burst switching is a core architecture designed to reconcile the available optical technology with the increasing burstiness of traffic. However, disappointing performance in terms of high packet loss and/or low system utilization discouraged broader experimental implementations. A method to avoid these losses by first sending over the control channel a short scout packet that simulates the events that the actual burst will experience is proposed in this paper. Once the scout message detects a drop at any intermediate node, it returns back to the source to avert the payload emission and repeat the process. The way the control works results in essential service quality features, i.e., no loss of bursts, no out-of-order emissions, increased efficiency, much reduced delay variation, and graceful throttling of the load respecting the contracted rates.
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