A method and apparatus are provided to transfer protocol data units within a communication network. This transferring is accomplished with a protocol data unit processor that is operated in the communication network. The processor includes a preprocessor which establishes subsequent processing requirements of a particular protocol data unit received from the communication network to generate at least one associated directive for the particular protocol data unit. Subsequently, a synchronizing mechanism synchronizes the particular protocol data unit with the at least one associated directive to generate a synchronized protocol data unit. A restructuring device restructures the synchronized protocol data unit in accordance with the at least one associated directive for the protocol data unit to generate a restructured protocol data unit. In addition, a method of operating the protocol data unit processor in a heterogeneous communication network is provided.