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network hardware accelerators

To: linux-mips@linux-mips.org
Subject: network hardware accelerators
From: "Alexander Sirotkin" <demiourgos@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 12:57:02 +0200
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Hello.

I'd like to know LinuxMIPS community opinion on network hardware
accelerators. I'm not talking about VPN accelerators, there is plenty
of material on the subject on the net and the benefits are quite
clear, as well as potential problems.

There is a claim that in order to do wire-speed, i.e. 100Mbps, router
using not high-end embedded processor, say MIPS 4K or 24K, one has to
use hardware accelerators for firewall, NAT, bridging and other
standard networking features of the residential gateway. I know that
the idea of HW network accelerators is not very welcome in Linux
community and the problems in functionality that it can cause. But the
question still remains - whether 100Mbps firewall, NAT, etc can run on
moderately priced embedded processor without HW acceleration.

Opinions ?

I'm going to get my hands on a reference design board in order to do
some benchmarking, but maybe somebody saw these kinds of benchmarks on
the net ? There are quite a few processors we are looking at and it
would be problematic to benchmark them all.

Thanks.

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