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High-speed routers rely on well-designed packet buffers that support multiple queuing, large capacity and short response times. Some researchers suggested a combined SRAM/DRAM hierarchical buffer architecture to meet these challenges. However, both the SRAM and DRAM need to maintain a large number of dynamic queues which is a real challenge in practice and limits the scalability of these approaches. In this paper, we present a scalable, efficient and novel distributed packet buffer architecture. Two fundamental issues need to be addressed to make this feasible: (a) how to design scalable packet buffers using independent buffer subsystems; and (b) how to dynamically balance the workload among multiple buffer subsystems without any blocking. We address these issues by first designing a basic framework that allows flows to dynamically switch from one subsystem to another without any blocking. Based on this framework, we further devise a load-balancing algorithm to meet the overall system requirements. Both theoretical analysis and experimental results demonstrate that our load-balancing algorithm and the distributed packet buffer architecture can easily scale to meet the buffering needs of high bandwidth links with large number of active connections.