A network element for incorporating in nodes of a network that is a transparent, subwavelength networks. The element is configurable and adapted to support an arbitrary protocol, with protocol-specific monitoring features as well as protocol-independent add/drop capability. An arrangement that allows transmission of client signals with higher clock fidelity is achieved by developing a phases offset measure at an ingress node, communicating it to the egress node, and recovering the client's clock from the received data and from the received phase-offset information. The ability to recover the client's clock with high fidelity is enhanced by modified pointer processing in intermediate nodes of the network that the client's signal traverses. The pointer processing is modified to inject positive and negative justifications in excess of what is minimally necessary to insure proper transmission over a network that employs a protocol involving framing layer frames embedded in communication layer frames. Illustratively, the network protocol is an extended G.