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Classification of Internet protocol (IP) packets has become a bottleneck for the effective operation of QoS capable routers. In this paper, a novel packet classification scheme for high performance routers on different QoS architectures, named split-engine packet classification (SPC), is proposed. The key feature of the presented architecture is its ability to address a wide variety of inherently incompatible performance requirements by efficiently combining existing classification methods. To prove the validity of the proposed approach, a low cost SPC packet classifier architecture with per-flow packet treatment and dynamic resource reservation support on an OC-24 link as required by the Integrated Services framework, has been developed.