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The layered architecture that guided the design of the Internet is deemed inadequate as a reference model for engineering protocols for NGN. Layered protocol suites impose a strict sequential order on protocol execution conflicting with the efficient engineering of end systems, as well as failing to express vertical functional integration, the separation of control and data planes, and the distributed nature of network functions. Furthermore, protocols developed according to the layered architecture are implemented as monolithic blocks with undefined or implicit dependencies lacking flexibility to adapt to changing application requirements. We claim that NGN architecture design should be dual faceted along a vertical and a horizontal dimension. The vertical dimension addresses complexity at a network node by abstracting the communication functionality into several components and defining component interactions, while the horizontal dimension addresses the distributed nature of the network, abstracting network links into communication paths, and defining procedures for creating, maintaining, as well as exchanging data between different network components along these paths. We propose a preliminary network architecture based on component federation. We focus on the vertical decomposition of the communication functions and their interactions considering the distributed consequences of these interactions along the horizontal dimension of the network.