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The use of networked applications on the Internet is increasing, both in the number of applications and the amount of network flow traffic they generate. These applications include the Web, streaming media, games, peer-to-peer and grid computing where each application generates its own network flow dynamics between nodes in the Internet. A single application often causes other network flows, such as DNS and authentication, apart from those that it generates directly. With the ever-increasing number and variety of network applications available, an interesting, but unexplored direction for research is understanding the relationships among network flows between hosts and sites on the Internet and how these relationships can be exploited for improved application performance. In this work, we present results on the degree to which relationships between network flows exist between host and site pairs. We go on to study relationships for flows of specific network applications. We use these relationships as a basis to propose a new approach for packet transmission using an “active network layer” where packet transmissions from respective transport layer protocols are passed down to this active network layer with a deadline for transmission. The inclusion of a deadline allows the network layer to perform real-time scheduling from a pool of packets and to encapsulate multiple less-than-full packets into the same transmitted frame thus exploiting concurrent flow relationships while not introducing additional frames that need to be routed. The availability of this network layer also allows the possibility of speculative packet transmission when these packets can be combined with other network traffic for improved reliability of applications without introduction of additional transmitted frames.