Off-chip communication architectures for high throughput network processors

J Engel, T Koçak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


In this paper, we propose a new interconnection mechanism for network line cards. We project that the packet storage needs for the next-generation networks will be much higher. Such that the number of memory modules required to store the packets will be more than that can be directly connected to the network processor (NPU). In other words, the NPU I/O pins are limited and they do not scale well with the growing number of memory modules and processing elements employed on the network line cards. As a result, we propose to explore more suitable off-chip interconnect and communication mechanisms that will replace the existing systems and that will provide extraordinary high throughput. In particular, we investigate if the packet-switched k-ary n-cube networks can be a solution. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time, the k-ary n-cube networks are used on a board. We investigate multiple k-ary n-cube based interconnects and include a variation of 2-ary 3-cube interconnect called the 3D-mesh. All of the k-ary n-cube interconnects include multiple, highly efficient techniques to route, switch, and control packet flows in order to minimize congestion spots and packet loss within the interconnects. We explore the tradeoffs between implementation constraints and performance. Performance results show that k-ary n-cube topologies significantly outperform the existing line card interconnects and they are able to sustain higher traffic loads. Furthermore, the 3D-mesh reaches the highest performance results of all interconnects and allows future scalability to adopt more memories and/or processors to increase the line card’s processing power.
Translated title of the contributionOff-chip communication architectures for high throughput network processors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)867 - 879
Number of pages13
JournalComputer Communications
Volume32 (5)
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Elsevier


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