The Inquirer-Home

Virtual router is really fast

South Korean researchers build a record-breaking device
Mon Aug 23 2010, 14:05

A BUNCH OF BOFFINS have cannibalised desktop computers to build a networking router that is so fast it should interest those people at Guinness.

The researchers, mostly from South Korea's Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, built the router from components found in high end computers. Impressively for such a Heath Robinson sounding device, it can transmit data at almost 40Gbps.

The router, called Packetshader, uses a computer's GPU to help it shift data and this is what makes it so fast. Typically a network card can handle 10Gbps and this was the target that the researchers initially aimed for. However, it soon became clear that they could stretch it further.

"We started with the humble goal of being the first to get a PC router to 10 [gigabytes per second], but we pushed it to 40," said Sue Moon, leader of the research lab in an article at Technology Review.

This speed increase opens up possibilities for router manufacturers, and could mean that your average GPU chip, by say Nividia, could suffice where previously only custom kit could be used, according to the report.

"We can expect killer apps out of this," added KyoungSoo Park, who was also involved. "You can build an interesting packet- or network-management system on top of a PC-based software router that can't be implemented with a hardware router. Ultimately, you can experiment with new protocols that are not used in today's Internet." µ



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