Towards High-performance Active Networking

Network processors have been developed to ease the implementation of new network protocols in high-speed routers. Being embedded in network interface cards, they enable extended packet processing at link speed as is required, for instance, for active network nodes. Active network nodes start using network processors for extended packet processing close to the link. The control and configuration of high-performance active network nodes with network processors such that new services can benefit from the additional processing capacity offered is nontrivial. In this paper, we present PromethOS NP which is a modular and flexible router architecture that provides a framework for dynamic service extension by plugins with integrated support of network processors, namely the IBM PowerNP 4GS3 network processor. We briefly introduce the PowerNP architecture in order to show how our active networking framework maps onto this network processor and provide results from performance measurements. Owing to architectural similarities of network processors, we believe that our considerations are also valid for other network processors.

By: Lukas Ruf, Roman Pletka, Pascal Erni, Patrick Droz and Bernhard Plattner

Published in: RZ3479 in 2003


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