Report Number: CSL-TR-97-738
Institution: Stanford University, Computer Systems Laboratory
Title: On the Speedup Required for Combined Input and Output Queued Switching
Author: Prabhakar, Balaji
Author: McKeown, Nick
Date: November 1997
Abstract: Architectures based on a non-blocking fabric, such as a crosspoint switch, are attractive for use in high-speed LAN switches, ATM switches and IP routers. These fabrics, coupled with memory bandwidth limitations, dictate that queues be placed at the input of the switch. But it is well known that input-queueing can lead to low throughput, and does not allow the control of latency through the switch. This is in contrast to output-queueing, which maximizes throughput, and permits the accurate control of packet latency through scheduling. We ask the question: Can a switch with combined input and output queueing be designed to behave identically to an output-queued switch? In this paper, we prove that if the switch uses virtual output queueing, and has an internal speedup of just four, it is possible for it to behave identically to an output queued switch, regardless of the nature of the arriving traffic. Our proof is based on a novel scheduling algorithm, known as Most Urgent Cell First. This result makes possible switches that perform as if they were output-queued, yet use memories that run more slowly.