This paper proposes a framework based on an active net-working approach to efficiently link Quality-of-Service (QoS) descriptions from an application point of view with an underlying heterogeneous IP networking infrastructure. The main goal is to sense the availability of and deploy distinct QoS capabilities in order to accomplish adaptive end-to-end service guarantees. The building blocks needed in a heterogeneous IP network will be introduced and dis-cussed with respect to safety in terms of total networking bandwidth, CPU, and memory usage. In conjunction with a new safety hierarchy and a sandbox environment for active-code execution, security risks are reduced to traditional IP forwarding. In particular, the problem of QoS parameter translation to provide adaptive end-to-end ser-vice guarantees is addressed and an example using Diffserv and RSVP in a heterogeneous network is given.