XML Processing in the Network

Cisco Position Paper to the W3C Workshop on Binary Interchange of XML Information Item Sets

Alex Yiu-Man Chan

Ricky Ho


This paper presents Cisco's view on how XML processing is done in the network.


With increasing XML traffic in the network, there is a need for networking systems to process the inherently verbose content more efficiently. There are generally several dimensions that optimizations can happen:


The following are a number of requirements that we have identified for the solution:


Our network system works in any application domain and handles all kinds of traffic. The XML documents would be mostly for business transactions that can go from a few kilobytes to tens of kilobytes.


With an efficient solution to represent and process XML traffic, it would be possible to enable a new breed of network-based applications that directly sit on the data path, such as:

As a whole, the network would have the intelligence to efficiently process XML in real-time, allowing the applications to focus on the business logic.

Related Work

Our requirements can possibly be satisfied by using gzip on raw XML. This is the current implementation and it is a satisfactory solution. However, any approach that can further reduce latency from computation and transmission would be very useful.


We see a strong need for more efficient processing and transmission of XML documents to realize the vision of the intelligent network. The network would then be much more application-aware or application-oriented.