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Ternary content addressable memory (TCAM), although widely used for general packet classification, is an expensive and high power-consuming device. Algorithmic solutions which rely on commodity memory chips are relatively inexpensive and power-efficient but have not been able to match the generality and performance of TCAMs. Therefore, the development of fast and power-efficient algorithmic packet classification techniques continues to be a research subject. In this paper we propose a new approach to packet classification which combines architectural and algorithmic techniques. Our starting point is the well-known crossproduct algorithm which is fast but has significant memory overhead due to the extra rules needed to represent the crossproducts. We show how to modify the crossproduct method in a way that drastically reduces the memory requirement without compromising on performance. Unnecessary accesses to the off-chip memory are avoided by filtering them through on- chip Bloom filters. For packets that match p rules in a rule set, our algorithm requires just 4+p+epsiv independent memory accesses to return all matching rules, where epsiv Lt 1 is a small constant that depends on the false positive rate of the Bloom filters. Using two commodity SRAM chips, a throughput of 38 million packets per second can be achieved. For rule set sizes ranging from a few hundred to several thousand filters, the average rule set expansion factor attributable to the algorithm is just 1.2 to 1.4. The average memory consumption per rule is 32 to 45 bytes.
Date of Conference: 3-5 Dec. 2006