Next generation routers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the broadband access technologies, such as DSL, cable modem, and gigabit Ethernet, are providing affordable broadband solutions to the Internet from home and the enterprise, it is required to build next generation routers with high-speed interfaces (e.g., 10 or 40 Gb/s) and large switching capacity (e.g., multipetabit). This paper first points out the issues of building such routers, such as memory speed constraint, packet arbitration bottleneck, and interconnection complexity. It then presents several algorithms/architectures to implement IP route lookup, packet classification, and switch fabrics. Some of the functions, such as packet classification, route lookup, and traffic management, can be implemented with emerging network processors that have the advantages of providing flexibility to new applications and protocols, shortening the design cycle and time-to-market, and reducing the implementation cost by avoiding the ASIC approach. Several proposed algorithms for IP route lookup and packet classification are compared in respect to their search/update speeds and storage requirements. Different efficient arbitration schemes for output port contention resolution are presented and analyzed. The paper also surveys various switch architectures of commercial routers and switch chip sets. At the end, it outlines several challenging issues that remain to be researched for next generation routers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1518-1558
Number of pages41
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2002


  • Clos network switches
  • High-performance routers
  • IP route lookup
  • Network processors
  • Packet arbitration
  • Packet classification
  • Packet scheduling
  • Packet switches

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Computer Science


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