In the fall of 2000, a small team of Bell Labs Research engineers started an ambitious project to create a common hardware and software platform that will allow Lucent to quickly introduce new products offering the latest Internet protocol (IP) packet services. The resulting multi-purpose, packet-processing hardware platform, referred to as Froggie, contains four Intel* network processors arranged in a unique, scalable, and modular architecture with a variety of swappable network interfaces. It is capable of supporting many different types of packet services such as routing, switching, firewall, network address translation (NAT), billing, and Web server load balancing at gigabit speeds. This article will discuss the purpose and goals of the Starburst project and explain the technology that makes it possible as well as describe the Froggie networking device and its second-generation, Tadpole, which was developed during the publication delay of this article. © 2002 Lucent Tecnologies Inc.