AUGUST 17-22

Tutorial: Building Gigabit-rate Routers with the NetFPGA

Presented by: John W. Lockwood, Glen Gibb, and Adam Covington, High Performance Network Group, Stanford University

Date: Sunday, August 17, 2008
Time: 0900-1730
Location: Blewett Room


An open platform called the NetFPGA has been developed at Stanford University. The NetFPGA platform enables researchers and instructors to build high-speed, hardware-accelerated networking systems. The platform can be used in the classroom to teach students how to build Ethernet switches and Internet Prototcol (IP) routers using hardware rather than software. The platform can be used by researchers to prototype advanced services for next-generation networks.

By using Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), the NetFPGA enables new types of packet routing circuits to be implemented and detailed measurements of network traffic to be obtained. During the tutorial, we will use the NetFPGA to determine the amount of memory needed to buffer TCP/IP data streaming through the Gigabit/second router. Hardware circuits within the NetFPGA will be implemented to measure and plot the occupancy of buffers. Circuits will be downloaded into reconfigurable hardware and tested with live, streaming Internet video traffic.

This full-day hands-on tutorial will be held in a classroom or laboratory equipped with ten PCs with NetFPGA hardware.


Attendees will utilize a Linux-based PC equipped with NetFPGA hardware. A basic understanding of Ethernet switching and network routing is expected. Past experience with Verilog is useful but not required. This full-day tutorial extends the material presented at the Hot Interconnects tutorial and the SIGMETRICS tutorials in 2007. Photos from those events as well as a description of the NetFPGA Platform are available on-line from the homepage.

Previous NetFPGA tutorial


About the presenters