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Boosting the performance of PC-based software routers with FPGA-enhanced network interface cards

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9 Author(s)
Bianco, A. ; Dipt. di Elettronica, Politecnico di Torino ; Birke, R. ; Botto, G. ; Chiaberge, M.
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The research community is devoting increasing attention to software routers based on off-the-shelf hardware and open-source operating systems running on the personal-computer (PC) architecture. Today's high-end PCs are equipped with peripheral component interconnect (PCI) shared buses enabling them to easily fit into the multi-gigabit-per-second routing segment, for a price much lower than that of commercial routers. However, commercially-available PC network interface cards (NICs) lack programmability, and require not only packets to cross the PCI bus twice, but also to be processed in software by the operating system, strongly reducing the achievable forwarding rate. It is therefore interesting to explore the performance of customizable NICs based on field-programmable gate array (FPGA) logic devices we developed and assess how well they can overcome the limitations of today's commercially-available NICs

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High Performance Switching and Routing, 2006 Workshop on

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