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Rapid developments in networking technology and a rise in clustered computing have driven research studies in high performance communication architectures. In an effort to standardize the work in this area, industry leaders have developed the Virtual Interface Architecture (VIA) specification. This architecture seeks to provide an operating system-independent infrastructure for high-performance user-level networking in a generic environment. This paper evaluates the inherent costs and performance potential of the Virtual Interface Architecture through a prototype implementation over Myrinet. The VIA prototype is compared against established research user-level networks using simple communication benchmarks on the same hardware. We consider extensions to the VI Architecture that improve its performance for certain types of communication traffic and outline further research areas in the VIA design space that merit investigation.