North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Scalability issues in the Internet routing system

  • From: Lincoln Dale
  • Date: Wed Oct 26 05:45:41 2005

Alexei Roudnev wrote:
You do not need to forward 100% packets on line card rate; forwarding 95%
packets on card rate and have other processing (with possible delays) thru
central CPU can work good enough..
in the words of Randy, "i encourage my competitors to build a router this way".

reality is that any "big, fast" router is forwarding in hardware - typically an ASIC or some form of programmable processor.
the lines here are getting blurry again .. Moore's Law means that packet-forwarding can pretty much be back "in software" in something which almost resembles a general-purpose processor - or maybe more than a few of them working in parallel (ref: <>).

if you've built something to be 'big' and 'fast' its likely that you're also forwarding in some kind of 'distributed' manner (as opposed to 'centralized').

as such - if you're building forwarding hardware capable of (say) 25M PPS and line-rate is 30M PPS, it generally isn't that much of a jump to build it for 30M PPS instead.

i don't disagree that interfaces / backbones / networks are getting faster - but i don't think its yet a case of "Moore's law" becoming a problem - all that happens is one architects a system far more modular than before - e.g. ingress forwarding separate from egress forwarding.

likewise, "FIB table growth" isn't yet a problem either - generally that just means "put in more SRAM" or "put in more TCAM space".

IPv6 may change the equations around .. but we'll see ..