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A declarative service model is introduced to describe the multiple facets of service definition, network provisioning, and element configuration. This approach addresses the emergent large packet-switched networks based on the IP protocol that involve high capability backbone switches in conjunction with the edge devices supporting protocol adaptation for the end users. A modeling language is used to define the various aspects of user-level services such as rate, duration, connectivity, and quality-of-service parameters. These definitions can be processed to automatically determine the network-level aggregate services most relevant for backbone switch provisioning. On the other hand, these service definitions can be transformed to generate detailed configuration parameters for a large number of edge devices.