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Technical Report

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Technical Report Number



Modern routers and switch fabrics can have hundreds of input and output ports running at up to 10 Gb/s; 40 Gb/s systems are starting to appear. At these rates, the performance of the buffering and queuing subsystem becomes a significant bottleneck. In high performance routers with more than a few queues, packet buffering is typically implemented using DRAM for data storage and a combination of off-chip and on-chip SRAM for storing the linked-list nodes and packet length, and the queue headers, respectively. This paper focuses on the performance bottlenecks associated with the use of off-chip SRAM. We show how the combination of implicit buffer pointers and multi-buffer list nodes can dramatically reduce the impact of buffering and queuing subsystem on queuing performance. We also show how combining it with coarse-grained scheduling can improve the performance of fair queuing algorithms, while also reducing the amount of off-chip memory and bandwidth needed. These techniques can reduce the amount of SRAM needed to hold the list nodes by a factor of 10 at the cost of about 10% wastage of the DRAM space, assuming an aggregation degree of 16.


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