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Network processors usually consist of multiple heterogeneous processing and memory units connected by on-chip network, and the target applications generally need to process packets at full line rate from Gbit/s to multiple 10 Gbit/s. Network processor based applications are real-time, resource-constrained and heterogeneous. We believe that component technology is a promising approach for complex embedded system development. However, the general purpose component technology is not suitable for the contexts of network processor. This paper gives general guidelines for applying component technology to network processor based systems. A component model is proposed according to the features of hardware architecture and target applications. We show that the component model could simplify composition and improve predictability for network processor based systems.