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In recent years, the exponential growth of Internet users with increased bandwidth requirements has led to the emergence of the next generation of IP routers. Distributed architecture is one of the promising trends providing petabit routers with a large switching capacity and high-speed interfaces. Distributed routers are designed with an optical switch fabric interconnecting line and control cards. Computing and memory resources are available on both control and line cards to perform routing and forwarding tasks. This new hardware architecture is not efficiently utilized by the traditional software models where a single control card is responsible for all routing and management operations. The routing table manager plays an extremely critical role by managing routing information and in particular, a forwarding information table. This article presents a distributed architecture set up around a distributed and scalable routing table manager. This architecture also comes provides improvements in robustness and resiliency. The proposed architecture is based on a sharing mechanism between control and line cards and is able to meet the scalability requirements for route computations, notifications, and advertisements. A comparative scalability evaluation is made between distributed and centralized architectures in terms of required memory and computing resources.
Date of Publication: March-April 2008