A method and apparatus are provided to transfer protocol data units within a communication network. This transferring is accomplished with a protocol data unit preprocessor utilized in a protocol data unit forwarding device that is operated in the communication network. The preprocessor includes an identification mechanism which determines media header information of a protocol data unit received from over the communication network. Subsequently, a validation mechanism validates the media header information. In addition, modification mechanism adds next operation information to the media header information based upon the determined media header information such that subsequent processing of the protocol data unit by the protocol data unit forwarding device is reduced.