Chapter 3

Switch Fabric Technology


In order to better understand the performance, features, and limitations of cloud networking, the reader needs to understand the underlying switch fabric technology. In this chapter, we review several basic switch fabric architectures including shared bus, shared memory, crossbars, and output-queued designs. Next, we describe several multistage switch fabric topologies including ring, mesh, star, and clos/fat-tree configurations. For these topologies, we investigate sources of congestion along with several methods to deal with congestion such as load balancing, buffering, flow control, and traffic management. Finally, we provide examples of several switch chip architectures in use today along with ...

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