Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Computer Science and Engineering

Major Professor

Christensen, Kenneth J.


performance evaluation, packet switches, CICQ, variable-length packets, stability, scalability


Packet switches are used in the Internet to forward information between a sender and receiver and are the critical bottleneck in the Internet. Without faster packet switch designs, the Internet cannot continue to scale-up to higher data rates. Packet switches must be able to achieve high throughput and low delay. In addition, they must be stable for all traffic loads, must efficiently support variable length packets, and must be scalable to higher link data rates and greater numbers of ports. This dissertation investigates a new combined input and crossbar queued (CICQ) switch architecture. Some unbalanced traffic loads result in instability for input queued (IQ) and CICQ switches. This instability region was modeled, and the cause of the instability was found to be a lack of work conservation at one port. A new burst stabilization protocol was investigated that was shown to stabilize both IQ and CICQ switches.

As an added benefit, this new protocol did not require a costly internal switch speed-up. Switching variable length packets in IQ switches requires the segmentation of packets into cells. The process also requires an internal switch speed-up which can be costly. A new method of cell-merging in IQ switches reduced this speed-up. To improve fairness for CICQ switches, a block and transfer method was proposed and evaluated. Implementation feasibility of the CICQ switch was also investigated via a field programmable gate array (FPGA) implementation of key components. Two new designs for round robin arbiters were developed and evaluated. The first of these, a proposed priority-encoder-based round robin arbiter that uses feedback masking, has a lower delay than any known design for an FPGA implementation.

The second, an overlapped round robin arbiter design that fully overlaps round robin polling and scheduling, was proposed and shown to be scalable, work conserving, and fair. To allow for multi-cabinet implementation and minimization of the size of the cross point buffers, a distributed input port queue scheduler was investigated. This new scheduler minimizes the amount of buffering needed within the crossbar. The two primary contributions of this dissertation are 1) a complete understanding of the performance characteristics of the CICQ switch, and 2) new methods for improving the performance, stability,and scalability of the CICQ switch. This work has shown that the CICQ switch can be the switch architecture of the future.