The Q-5 TMC, as a powerful traffic manager companion to the C-5e NP, seamlessly integrates comprehensive QoS management into the data path, providing a more streamlined and cost-effective implementation than pipelined architectures. Unique featuresof the Q-5 TMC enable fine-grained, highly customized QoS solutions as compared to other traffic management coprocessors. These features include Multiple protocol, micro-flow level traffic management for up to 256K independent queues, including per-queue policing and shaping. This allows service providers to honor their Service Level Agreements based on individual connections or flows as opposed to classes. A flexible three-level scheduling hierarchy, with up to 1000 virtual channels that can be configured at each level with an assortment of scheduling algorithms enables equipment vendors and service providers to support a vast array of services, including advanced billing applications. A fully configurable active queue management (AQM) with buffering for up to two million packets/cells at flow, class and interface levels allows a greater range of operating conditions in the face of congestion without degrading the QoS of the flow or the connections.