Given the significant progress made and the continuing advances expected in the optical networking technology, it becomes attractive to build a future Optical Internet that natively supports bursty IP datagrams. Burst switching WDM optical networks are touted as suitable network architectures for future Optical Internet backbones. However, the lack of optical processing capabilities results in increased burst blocking probability, which in turn leads to very limited network performance. Efficient contention resolution method is therefore necessary. Based on discussions of the state of the art of recent optical technologies, a deflection routing protocol for burst switching WDM mesh networks is proposed. The idea of this approach is to use idle optical links as fiber delay lines for contention resolution. Simulation results show that the proposed protocol is available solution for effectively reducing the blocking probability and increasing the performance of burst switching WDM optical networks.© (2000) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.