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Most of the high-performance routers available commercially these days equip each of their line cards (LCs) with a forwarding engine (FE) to perform table lookups locally. This work introduces and evaluates a technique for speedy packet lookups, called SPAL, in such routers. The BGP routing table under SPAL is fragmented into subsets which constitute forwarding tables for different FEs so that the number of table entries in each FE drops as the router grows. This reduction in the forwarding table size drastically lowers the amount of SRAM (e.g., L3 data cache) required in each LC to hold the trie constructed according to the prefix matching algorithm. SPAL calls for caching the lookup result of a given IP address at its home LC (denoted by LCho, using the LR-cache), such that the result can satisfy the lookup requests for the same address from not only LCho, but also other LCs quickly. Our trace-driven simulation reveals that SPAL leads to improved mean lookup performance by a factor of at least 2.5 (or 4.3) for a router with three (or 16) LCs, if the LR-cache contains 4K blocks. SPAL achieves this significant improvement, while greatly lowering the SRAM (i.e., the L3 data cache plus the LR-cache combined) requirement in each LC and possibly shortening the worst-case lookup time (thanks to fewer memory accesses during longest-prefix matching search) when compared with a current router without partitioning the routing table. It promises good scalability (with respect to routing table growth) and exhibits a small mean lookup time per packet. With its ability to speed up packet lookup performance while lowering overall SRAM substantially, SPAL is ideally applicable to the new generation of scalable high-performance routers.
Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:17 , Issue: 5 )
Date of Publication: May 2006