Managing traffic rates and assuring that networking resources are fairly offered and consumed is perhaps the penultimate requirement and opportunity for HFC cable networks. Failures translate rapidly to customer dissatisfaction and lost revenue. Current mechanisms such as DOCSIS™ 1.1 and PacketCable™ DQOS provide strong traffic management functionality for select specified applications (e.g. VOIP). However the rapid demand for new applications and services (e.g. peer-to-peer), coupled with the long cycle-time of specification, implementation, testing, and deployment is rapidly bringing networks to their knees. New mechanisms such as in-line flow classification and application signature detection enable operators to quickly understand and adapt to new application paradigms (e.g. peer-to-peer), and fulfill rapidly changing subscriber demand. New tools and interfaces are needed to accelerate service revenue and enhance customer satisfaction.