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Networking devices have to offer short processing latencies and flexibility concerning the supported networking protocols and applications. The input packet-processing flow in conventional networking node devices follows a serial or a layer-specific pseudo-parallel method, serialized by the data dependencies of the inherent layer protocol types. This article describes a new methodology, which is based on the principles of branch prediction and speculative execution in microprocessors, for latency reduced input packet processing in a networking device. Through the use of protocol stack prediction, in combination with speculative protocol layer processing, a networking system may realize a mean system processing time reduction of up to 40 percent in a real networking environment in comparison to conventional processing methodologies.