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System architecture and hardware implementations for a reconfigurable MPLS router




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With extremely wide bandwidth and good channel properties, optical fibers have brought fast and reliable data transmission to today’s data communications. However, to handle heavy traffic flowing through optical physical links, much faster processing speed is required or else congestion can take place at network nodes. Also, to provide people with voice, data and all categories of multimedia services, distinguishing between different data flows is a requirement. To address these router performance, Quality of Service /Class of Service and traffic engineering issues, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) was proposed for IP-based Internetworks. In addition, routers flexible in hardware architecture in order to support ever-evolving protocols and services without causing big infrastructure modification or replacement are also desirable. Therefore, reconfigurable hardware implementation of MPLS was proposed in this project to obtain the overall fast processing speed at network nodes. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a reconfigurable MPLS router, which uniquely integrates the best features of operations being conducted in software and in run-time-reconfigurable hardware. The scope of this thesis includes system architecture and service algorithm considerations, Verilog coding and testing for an actual device. The hardware and software co-design technique was used to partition and schedule the protocol code for execution on both a general-purpose processor and stream-based hardware. A novel RPS scheme that is practically easy to build and can realize pipelined packet-by-packet data transfer at each output was proposed to take the place of the traditional crossbar switching. In RPS, packets with variable lengths can be switched intelligently without performing packet segmentation and reassembly. Primary theoretical analysis of queuing issues was discussed and an improved multiple queue service scheduling policy UD-WRR was proposed, which can reduce packet-waiting time without sacrificing the performance. In order to have the tests carried out appropriately, dedicated circuitry for the MPLS functional block to interface a specific MAC chip was implemented as well. The hardware designs for all functions were realized with a single Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) device in this project. The main result presented in this thesis was the MPLS function implementation realizing a major part of layer three routing at the reconfigurable hardware level, which advanced a great step towards the goal of building a router that is both fast and flexible.



service scheduling, multiple queue, switch



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Electrical Engineering


Electrical Engineering


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