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Cross-layer architectures (CLAs) are proposed to improve performance in networks where physical layer impairments are unpredictable and provision of security services may be challenging, as in satellite networks. This paper proposes an extension to the IPsec protocol, named cross-layer IPsec (CL-IPsec), able to provide authentication and integrity services through a cross-layer architecture when the adopted protocol is UDP-Lite. This is suitable for multicast applications that are cost-effectively provided by satellite systems. A satellite emulation platform has been used to validate the CL-IPsec implementation and to evaluate the performance improvement derived from the proposed CLA.