network processor unit (NPU)
A network processor, Network Processing Unit( NPU), is a programmable processor optimized for network applications. It is used wherever communication between communication partners must be controlled via networks and access networks. NPU processors support the services and protocols offered by networks and servers.
Due to the extremely high data rates, which can be up to several hundred gigabits per second, the demands on network processors are extremely high and can only be realized with parallel processing. For this reason, the processor architecture is made up of parallel pipelines, pipelines of parallel processors or many individual processors. In practice, processors with RISC architecture are used, which work with reduced, directly callable instruction structure.
Network processors are used in computers and network components such as routers, switches, firewalls and in network management systems.
Since modern communications technology generally uses the IP protocol, data packets are transmitted via data packet switching. The tasks of network processors include packet inspection such as deep packet inspection( DPI) or stateful packet inspection( SPI), congestion control, traffic shaping and many others.