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Modelling is an essential tool in the development and assessment of new concepts. The authors propose an architecture for the next-generation gigabit distributed active router that was designed and implemented in the IST project, FlexiNET. In the FlexiNET project, a service called 'dynamic service deployment' dynamically installs, monitors and uninstalls new services on user demand or by default configuration. The proposed distributed router architecture achieves scalability of performance, functional flexibility and reliability. Scalability is achieved by adding new modules that have identical interfaces in an extensible function block. New services can easily be added by inserting modules that have the appropriate functionality. Another significant aspect of the model presented is that a failure in one module does not affect the other modules because they operate independently.