At least one queue is provided per current branch pattern in a network node.
In this way, a queue can be jointly used for a plurality of distribution compartments which are imaged onto the same branch pattern in said node.
Arriving packets are differentiated according to the particular distribution compartment to which they belong (i.e. not according to a particular flow to which they belong inside the distribution compartment). They are then inserted into a corresponding queue accordingly. Said queues are used by the ports belonging to each branch pattern. As soon as a port is free, it selects the next queue to use. The selection thus begins in sufficient time to ensure that no gaps appear on the outgoing line from said port. If a port uses a plurality (in this case fully or partially overlapping) of branch patterns, a search is then carried out for non-empty queues in all of said branch patterns, during the selection. If a plurality of non-empty queues are found in different branch patterns, the following queue to be used is selected according to a pre-determined criteria. The packet to be emitted from said queue is then defined according to a further criterion.