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The APIC approach to high performance network interface design: protected DMA and other techniques

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3 Author(s)
Dittia, Z.D. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Washington Univ., St. Louis, MO, USA ; Parulkar, G.M. ; Cox, Jerome R.

We are building a high performance 1.2 Gb/s ATM network interface chip called the APIC (ATM Port Interconnect Controller). In addition to borrowing useful ideas from a number of research and commercial prototypes, the APIC design embraces several innovative features, and integrates all of these pieces into a coherent whole. Some of the novel ideas incorporated in the APIC design include: protected DMA and protected I/O, which allow applications to queue data for transmission or reception directly from user-space, effectively bypassing the kernel. This argues for moving the entire protocol stack including the interface device driver into the user-space, thereby yielding better latency and throughput performance than kernel-resident implementations. Pool DMA when used with packet splitting, is a technique that can be used to build true zero-copy kernel-resident protocol stack implementations, using a page-remapping technique. Finally, orchestrated interrupts and interrupt demultiplexing are mechanisms used to reduce the frequency of interrupts issued by the APIC. Although many of these ideas have been developed in the context of an ATM network interface, we believe they are also applicable in other contexts. In particular, protected DMA and I/O are promising techniques for improving the performance of several different types of I/O devices

Published in:

INFOCOM '97. Sixteenth Annual Joint Conference of the IEEE Computer and Communications Societies. Driving the Information Revolution., Proceedings IEEE  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

7-12 Apr 1997