In this paper we develop an analytical model for the FIFO delay-line buffer in asynchronous optical networks with any packet length distribution, under the assumption that arrivals are Poissonian. We consider that the incoming traffic is distributed among an infinite number of inputs (Aloha traffic) and show that this consideration represents very suitably a real system. The model enables the exact calculation of packet loss probability and average delay, which makes it a very powerful tool for performance evaluation and planning/dimensioning of networks that use this kind of contention resolution technique. The buffer performance as predicted by the model is compared with simulations and discussed for some packet length distributions.© (2003) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.