Network Processor

What Does Network Processor Mean?

A network processor (NPU) is an integrated circuit that is a programmable software device used as a network architecture component inside a network application domain. A network processor in a network is analogous to central processing unit in a computer or similar device. The replacement of analogous signals to packet data form in telecommunication has led to integrated circuits of network processors that handle data packets.

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Techopedia Explains Network Processor

Modern-day network processors have developed from simple designs to complex ICs with programmable software and a variety of operations and manipulation functions on the data packet. Network processors are employed in the manufacturing of routers, network switches, packet inspection, session controllers, firewall, transmitter devices, error detection and prevention devices and network control software. With today’s web networking growing stronger than ever, network processors play a significant role in managing an overloaded network with abundant traffic and rapid growth rate. Network processors play a key role in packet inspection, encryption, monitoring, traffic management and queue management in a large network.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.