Firmware-level latency analysis on a gigabit network

Hyun Wook Jin, Chuck Yoo, Jin Young Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Gigabit networks are equipped with "increasingly" intelligent network interface cards, and the firmware running in the cards does various tasks related to end-to-end communication. For an accurate performance evaluation of gigabit networks, it is very important to characterize and quantify the firmware. However, the firmware has been neglected in the latency analyzes of network protocols. This paper presents an in-depth latency analysis of Myrinet. Our findings include that the major bottleneck is the network interface card itself. This is true especially for so-called lightweight user-level protocols (such as BPI of Myrinet) designed for high-speed communication. Although BPI is very lean and efficient in the host, its sending throughput becomes similar to UDP. This result is very unexpected and surprising. Through firmware-level measurements, we identify that the cause of bottleneck is the DMA performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-75
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Supercomputing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by University Software Research Center Supporting Project from Korea Ministry Information and Communication.


  • Asynchronous UDP
  • Cluster
  • Firmware
  • Gigabit network
  • Latency analysis
  • Myrinet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture


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