There is provided a message service device for a switching network. The device provides an input port for receiving messages from a number of network connections. The device includes a storage device for storing a number of predetermined priority levels pertaining to the received messages, one of the priority levels being assigned to each of the network connections. A number of first-in first-out message queues are provided for storing the received messages. The queues respectively correspond to each of the predetermined priority levels. Each queue is associated with at least one of a number of predetermined congestion thresholds whereby a congestion severity status may be determined for each queue. The congestion severity status corresponds proportionally to the number of the congestion thresholds which have been exceeded by the queue. The message service device further provides a processor for determining the network connection associated with each of the received messages. The processor allocates each of the messages to the tail of a corresponding one of the queues based upon the priority level assigned to the determined network connection and supplied to the processor from the storage device. A server for the arbitration of message frames from the queues is also provided. The server determines the congestion severity status for each of the queues prior to selecting a message from the queues. The server selects the message from the head of the queue which has the highest congestion severity status where only one queue has such status and from the queue corresponding to the highest priority level where more than one queue has such status. The message service device provides an output port for dispatching messages selected from the queues by the server.