Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Difference Between Optimum , Fast and CEF Switching

With reference to my last post on Interrupt Context Switching Vs Process Switching; I am explaining more on to the Interrupt Context Switching Mechanism which is being used by Fast Switching, Optimum Switching & CEF Switching. All the three mentioned switching techniques uses the cache. So you can see how the cache is used by the switching methods and becasue of that cache fact it is said that cisco uses interrupt context switching.

Fast Switching
Fast switching stores the forwarding information and MAC header rewrite string using a binary tree for quick lookup and reference. In Fast Switching, the reachability information is indicated by the existence of a node on the binary tree for the destination of the packet. The MAC header and outbound interface for each destination are stored as part of the node's information within the tree. The binary tree can actually have 32 levels. In order to search a binary tree, you simply start from the left (with the most significant digit) in the (binary) number you are looking for, and branch right or left in the tree based on that number. For instance, if you are looking for the information related to the number 4 in this tree, you would begin by branching right, because the first binary digit is 1. You would follow the tree down, comparing the next digit in the (binary) number, until you reach the end.

Optimum Switching
Optimum switching stores the forwarding information and the MAC header rewrite information in a 256 way multiway tree (256 way mtree). Using an mtree reduces the number of steps which must be taken when looking up a prefix. Each octet is used to determine which of the 256 branches to take at each level of the tree, which means there are, at most, 4 lookups involved in finding any destination. For shorter prefix lengths, only one−three lookups may be required. The MAC header rewrite and output interface information are stored as part of the tree node.

CEF (Cisco Express Forwarding) Switching
Cisco Express Forwarding also uses a 256 way data structure to store forwarding and MAC header rewrite information, but it does not use a tree. Cisco Express Forwarding uses a trie, which means the actual information being searched for is not in the data structure; instead, the data is stored in a separate data structure, and the trie simply points to it. In other words, rather than storing the outbound interface and MAC header rewrite within the tree itself, Cisco Express Forwarding stores this information in a separate data structure called the adjacency table.

shivlu jain

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