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In this paper, we explore the requirements of emerging complex SoC's and describe StepNP, an experimental flexible, multi-processor SoC platform targeted towards communications and networking applications. We present the results of mapping an internet protocol (IPv4) packet forwarding application, running at 2.5 Gb/s and 10 Gb/s. We demonstrate how the use of high-speed hardware-assisted messaging and dynamic task allocation in the StepNP platform allows us to achieve very high processor utilization rates (up to 97%) in spite of the presence of high network-on-chip and memory access latencies. The inter-processor communication overhead is kept very low, representing only 9% of instructions.