Workshop report: Internet research steering group workshop on very-high-speed networks
RFC 1152

Document Type RFC - Informational (April 1990; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                       C. Partridge
Request for Comments: 1152                  BBN Systems and Technologies
                                                              April 1990

                            Workshop Report
              Internet Research Steering Group Workshop on
                        Very-High-Speed Networks

Status of this Memo

   This memo is a report on a workshop sponsored by the Internet
   Research Steering Group.  This memo is for information only.  This
   RFC does not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo
   is unlimited.


   The goal of the workshop was to gather together a small number of
   leading researchers on high-speed networks in an environment
   conducive to lively thinking.  The hope is that by having such a
   workshop the IRSG has helped to stimulate new or improved research in
   the area of high-speed networks.

   Attendance at the workshop was limited to fifty people, and attendees
   had to apply to get in.  Applications were reviewed by a program
   committee, which accepted about half of them.  A few key individuals
   were invited directly by the program committee, without application.
   The workshop was organized by Dave Clark and Craig Partridge.

   This workshop report is derived from session writeups by each of the
   session chairman, which were then reviewed by the workshop

Session 1: Protocol Implementation (David D. Clark, Chair)

   This session was concerned with what changes might be required in
   protocols in order to achieve very high-speed operation.

   The session was introduced by David Clark (MIT LCS), who claimed that
   existing protocols would be sufficient to go at a gigabit per second,
   if that were the only goal.  In fact, proposals for high-speed
   networks usually include other requirements as well, such as going
   long distances, supporting many users, supporting new services such
   as reserved bandwidth, and so on.  Only by examining the detailed
   requirements can one understand and compare various proposals for
   protocols.  A variety of techniques have been proposed to permit
   protocols to operate at high speeds, ranging from clever

Partridge                                                       [Page 1]
RFC 1152                  IRSG Workshop Report                April 1990

   implementation to complete relayering of function.  Clark asserted
   that currently even the basic problem to be solved is not clear, let
   alone the proper approach to the solution.

   Mats Bjorkman (Uppsala University) described a project that involved
   the use of an outboard protocol processor to support high-speed
   operation.  He asserted that his approach would permit accelerated
   processing of steady-state sequences of packets.  Van Jacobson (LBL)
   reported results that suggest that existing protocols can operate at
   high speeds without the need for outboard processors.  He also argued
   that resource reservation can be integrated into a connectionless
   protocol such as IP without losing the essence of the connectionless
   architecture.  This is in contrast to a more commonly held belief
   that full connection setup will be necessary in order to support
   resource reservation.  Jacobson said that he has an experimental IP
   gateway that supports resource reservation for specific packet
   sequences today.

   Dave Borman (Cray Research) described high-speed execution of TCP on
   a Cray, where the overhead is most probably the system and I/O
   architecture rather than the protocol.  He believes that protocols
   such as TCP would be suitable for high-speed operation if the windows
   and sequence spaces were large enough. He reported that the current
   speed of a TCP transfer between the processors of a Cray Y-MP was
   over 500 Mbps.  Jon Crowcroft (University College London) described
   the current network projects at UCL.  He offered a speculation that
   congestion could be managed in very high-speed networks by returning
   to the sender any packets for which transmission capacity was not

   Dave Feldmeier (Bellcore) reported on the Bellcore participation in
   the Aurora project, a joint experiment of Bellcore, IBM, MIT, and
   UPenn, which has the goal of installing and evaluating two sorts of
   switches at gigabit speeds between those four sites.  Bellcore is
   interested in switch and protocol design, and Feldmeier and his group
   are designing and implementing a 1 Gbps transport protocol and
   network interface.  The protocol processor will have special support
   for such things as forward error correction to deal with ATM cell
   loss in VLSI; a new FEC code and chip design have been developed to
   run at 1 Gbps.

   Because of the large number of speakers, there was no general
   discussion after this session.

Partridge                                                       [Page 2]
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