TCP Acceleration on Network Processors

M. Benz and R. Lehmann (Germany)


TCP/IP hardware support, network processors, high speed networks


Gigabit networks can not be fully utilized by today’s end systems. The processing requirements of applications and advanced features like quality of service or security processing aggravate this situation which will get critical with next generation networks. To overcome these shortcomings this paper presents an approach and prototype implementation for hardware support of transport layer protocols. We outline a hardware/software partitioning, where the data path of the TCP/IP protocol is accelerated by a network processor and describe its transparent integration into the Linux operating system. In contrast to other approaches we reuse existing software protocol stack implementations, thus significantly reducing the design complexity. The feasibility of this approach is demonstrated based on a network processor evaluation platform for which initial results are presented.

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