Current technology trends make it possible to build communication networks that can support high performance distributed computing. This paper describes issues in the design of a prototype switch for an arbitrary topology point-to-point network with link speeds of up to one gigabit per second. The switch deals in fixed-length ATM-style cells, which it can process at a rate of 37 million cells per second. It provides high bandwidth and low latency for datagram traffic. In addition, it supports real-time traffic by providing bandwidth reservations with guaranteed latency bounds. The key to the switch's operation is a technique called parallel iterative matching, which can quickly identify a set of conflict-free cells for transmission in a time slot. Bandwidth reservations are accommodated in the switch by building a fixed schedule for transporting cells from reserved flows across the switch; parallel iterative matching can fill unused slots with datagram traffic. Finally, we note that parallel iterative matching may not allocate bandwidth fairly among flows of datagram traffic. We describe a technique called statistical matching, which can be used to ensure fairness at the switch and to support applications with rapidly changing needs for guaranteed bandwidth.




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