The bandwidth and number of users in computer networks are rapidly growing today. The need for added functionality in the network nodes is also increasing. The requirements on the processing devices get harder and harder to meet using traditional hardware architectures. Hence, a lot of effort is currently focused on finding new improved hardware architectures.
In the emerging research area of programmable network interfaces, there exist many hardware platform proposals. Most of them aim for router applications but not so many for terminals. This thesis explores a number of different router design alternatives and architectural concepts. The concepts have been examined to see which apply also to terminal designs.
A novel terminal platform solution is proposed in this thesis. The platform is accelerated using a programmable protocol processor. The processor uses a number of different dedicated hardware blocks, that operates in parallel, to accelerate the platform. The hardware blocks have been selected and specified to fulfill the requirements set by a number of common network protocols. To do this, the protocol processing procedure has been investigated and divided into processing tasks. The different tasks have been explored to see which are suitable for hardware acceleration and which should be processed in other parts of the platform.
The dedicated datapath, simplified control, and minimal usage of data buffers makes the proposed processor attractive from a power perspective. Further it accelerates the platform so that high speed operation is enabled.
Linköping: Uniserv , 2003. , 63 p.