In this paper, we consider the problem of enhancing the blocking performance, in the circuit-switched wide-area optical wavelength-division multiplexed (WDM) networks with no wavelength conversion at the nodes. The limitation of such a no conversion network is the wavelength continuity constraint (wcc) which requires the same wavelength on all the hops of the path. Whenever there is a session request, a lightpath has to be established in the network. If the lightpath could not be established, lightpath request rejection or call blocking occurs. As each lightpath is a substantial revenue and is long-lived, lightpath request rejection is highly unfavorable in the optical backbone networks. An optimal optical network is the one with wavelength conversion capability at the nodes. In these conversion networks, blocking occurs due to capacity exhaustion on the links and not due to wcc. Hence these networks have the lowest possible blocking probability (Pb) achievable for any given network. Our aim is to see if one can achieve this near optimal blocking performance in no conversion networks by using our proposed wavelength reassignment algorithms. In the reassignment technique, when the new call gets blocked due to wcc, the already established calls or lightpaths are wavelength reassigned, so as to create a wavelength-continuous route in order to accommodate the new call. During wavelength reassignment, the routes for all the calls remain the same, i.e. no rerouting is done. We have proposed two heuristic reassignment algorithms namely, MOLC and Random and have studied their performance on some standard backbone optical networks. Simulation results show that in these example networks, our proposed reassignment algorithm can mostly remove the blocking due to the wcc and can achieve the wavelength conversion performance. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.