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A Protocol for Deadlock-Free Dynamic Reconfiguration in High-Speed Local Area Networks
February 2001 (vol. 12 no. 2)
pp. 115-132

Abstract—High-speed local area networks (LANs) consist of a set of switches interconnected by point-to-point links, and hosts linked to those switches through a network interface card. High-speed LANs may change their topology due to switches being turned on/off, hot expansion, link remapping, and component failures. In these cases, a distributed reconfiguration protocol analyzes the topology, computes the new routing tables, and downloads them to the corresponding switches. Unfortunately, in most cases, user traffic is stopped during the reconfiguration process to avoid deadlock. These strategies are called static reconfiguration techniques. Although network reconfigurations are not frequent, static reconfiguration such as this may take hundreds of milliseconds to execute, thus degrading system availability significantly. Several distributed real-time applications have strict communication requirements. Distributed multimedia applications have similar, although less strict, quality of service (QoS) requirements [3], [4]. Both stopping packet transmission and discarding packets due to the reconfiguration process prevent the system from satisfying the above requirements. Therefore, in order to support hard real-time and distributed multimedia applications over a high-speed LAN, we need to avoid stopping user traffic and discarding packets when the topology changes. In this paper, we propose a new deadlock-free distributed reconfiguration protocol that is able to asynchronously update routing tables without stopping user traffic. This protocol is valid for any topology, including regular as well as irregular topologies. It is also valid for packet switching as well as for cut-through switching techniques and does not rely on the existence of virtual channels to work. Simulation results show that the behavior of our protocol is significantly better than for other protocols based on stopping user traffic.

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Index Terms:
Interconnection networks, irregular topologies, dynamic reconfiguration, deadlock avoidance, system availability.
Rafael Casado, Aurelio Bermúdez, José Duato, Francisco J. Quiles, José L. Sánchez, "A Protocol for Deadlock-Free Dynamic Reconfiguration in High-Speed Local Area Networks," IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 115-132, Feb. 2001, doi:10.1109/71.910868
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