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Cost-Effective Flow Table Designs for High-Speed Routers: Architecture and Performance Evaluation
September 2002 (vol. 51 no. 9)
pp. 1089-1099

Abstract—Provision of QoS-related router functions such as traffic regulation, policy routing, and usage-based accounting requires that a flow table store state information for active flows. The design of such a flow table is not trivial for a high-speed Internet router (e.g., 100+ Gbps) with a large number of active flows (e.g., tens of millions) and a high packet arrival rate (e.g., tens of millions of packets per second). Targeting two different models (centralized and distributed) of router design, we propose a software-based design to be implemented on individual line cards, which is suitable for the distributed model, and a hardware-based design to be implemented in the main forwarding engine of a router, which is suitable for the centralized model. The software-based design, adapted from the hash table data structure, employs a practical and effective technique to solve the garbage collection problem caused by the expired flows. The hardware-based design, adapted from the architecture of an N-way set-associative cache, employs a novel dynamic set-associative scheme to reduce the overflow ratio that a traditional set-associative scheme incurs, by a high percentage, and a pipelined design to achieve a throughput of 100+ Gbps. The performance evaluation results from both trace-driven simulation and statistical analysis demonstrate that both designs are cost-effective for their targeted router models.

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Index Terms:
Flow table, performance analysis, router architecture, universal hashing.
Jun Xu, Mukesh Singhal, "Cost-Effective Flow Table Designs for High-Speed Routers: Architecture and Performance Evaluation," IEEE Transactions on Computers, vol. 51, no. 9, pp. 1089-1099, Sept. 2002, doi:10.1109/TC.2002.1032627
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