Publication Details

General memory efficient packet matching FPGA architecture for future high-speed networks

KEKELY Michal, KEKELY Lukáš and KOŘENEK Jan. General memory efficient packet matching FPGA architecture for future high-speed networks. Microprocessors and Microsystems, vol. 73, no. 3, 2020, pp. 1-12. ISSN 0141-9331. Available from:
Czech title
Obecná paměťově optimalizovaná FPGA architektura filtrování paketů pro budoucí vysokorychlostní sítě
journal article

FPGA, Packet matching, Packet filtering, High-speed networks, Exact match, Cuckoo hashing


Packet classification (matching) is one of the critical operations in networking widely used in many different devices and tasks ranging from switching or routing to a variety of monitoring and security applications like firewall or IDS. To satisfy the ever-growing performance demands of current and future high-speed networks, specially designed hardware accelerated architectures implementing packet classification are necessary. These demands are now growing to such an extent, that in order to keep up with the rising throughputs of network links, the FPGA accelerated architectures are required to perform matching of multiple packets in every single clock cycle. To meet this requirement a simple replication approach can be utilized - instantiate multiple copies of a processing pipeline matching incoming packets in parallel. However, simple replication of pipelines inseparably brings a significant increase in utilization of FPGA resources of all types, which is especially costly for rather scarce on-chip memories used in matching tables.

We propose and examine a unique parallel hardware architecture for hash-based exact match classification of multiple packets in each clock cycle that offers a reduction of memory replication requirements. The core idea of the proposed architecture is to exploit the basic memory organization structure present in all modern FPGAs, where hundreds of individual block or distributed memory tiles are available and can be accessed (addressed) independently. This way, we are able to maintain a rather high throughput of matching multiple packets per clock cycle even without fully replicated memory resources in matching tables. Our results show that the designed approach can use on-chip memory resources very efficiently and even scales exceptionally well with increased capacities of match tables. For example, the proposed architecture is able to achieve a throughput of more than 2 Tbps (over 3 000 Mpps) with an effective capacity of more than 40 000 IPv4 flow records at the cost of only a few hundred block memory tiles (366 BlockRAM for Xilinx or 672 M20K for Intel FPGAs) utilizing only a small fraction of available logic resources (around 68 000 LUTs for Xilinx or 95 000 ALMs for Intel).

Microprocessors and Microsystems, vol. 73, no. 3, ISSN 0141-9331
Microprocessors and Microsystems
Elsevier Science
EID Scopus
   author = "Michal Kekely and Luk\'{a}\v{s} Kekely and Jan Ko\v{r}enek",
   title = "General memory efficient packet matching FPGA architecture for future high-speed networks",
   pages = "1--12",
   booktitle = "Microprocessors and Microsystems",
   journal = "Microprocessors and Microsystems",
   volume = 73,
   number = 3,
   year = 2020,
   publisher = "Elsevier Science",
   ISSN = "0141-9331",
   doi = "10.1016/j.micpro.2019.102950",
   language = "english",
   url = ""
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