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This paper describes the design, implementation and performance of an open, high performance, dynamically extensible router under development at Washington University in St. Louis. This router supports the dynamic installation of software and hardware plugins in the data path of application data flows. It provides an experimental platform for research on programmable networks, protocols, router software and hardware design, network management, quality of service and advanced applications. It is designed to be flexible, without sacrificing performance. It supports gigabit links and uses a scalable architecture suitable for supporting hundreds or even thousands of links. The system's flexibility makes it an ideal platform for experimental research on dynamically extensible networks that implement higher level functions in direct support of individual application sessions.
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