Are you looking to reduce costs and improve latency? The Multi Stage Content Aware Engine of the Broadcom StrataXGS allows for additional packet inspection and manipulation in the switching chip rather than using an external device like an FPGA, NPU or software on a host processor. That helps to reduce cost and also reduces packet processing latency by staying in the chip. It also enables a degree of Packet Inspection and packet handling decisions based on that inspection without needing to go off chip, again giving you cost reduction and latency improvement.
This content aware engine capability of Broadcom enables customers to replace FPGAs, redirect traffic to applications and develop diagnostic tools. The Broadcom XGS Content Aware engine provides the following capabilities:
- Dropping of frames that are identified as potential network security risks like DDoS packets
- Forwarding of select control packets to the CPU, such as IGMP, OAM etc.
- Assignment of new priority, Vlan ID, or VRF for the selected traffic stream
- Counting or metering an ingress flow across multiple ports
- Redirection of a select flow to a new egress port
- Redirecting or mirroring traffic based on the egress port
- These capabilities are achieved at different stages of the pipeline: Before l2 lookup(VCAP), end of ingress stage(ICAP) and end of the egress stage(ECAP). Broadcom achieves these capabilities with the help of TCAMs in the chipset.
The Content Aware Engine can be further classified in the following phases:
- Selection phase: where the packets are matched and selected as per the configured rules/entries
- Action phase: as per the configured rules, the packets are subject to the following actions
- Drop the packet
- Redirect the packet
- Copy the packet to the host CPU
- Modify the packet
- Note: In some cases, more than one action will be required. Broadcom allows the merging of more than one action like drop the packet and copy the packet to the host CPU etc.
- Statistics phase: the user can enable the statistic feature, so that engine counts the numbers of packets and bytes processed by the corresponding rule
At Northforge we can help you program the content aware engine as per the application requirement and speed up your development process by fulfilling the required functionality by using the Broadcom chipset. We have hands-on experience with our customers in replacing their FPGAs and applications development like IPTV with the content aware engine of Broadcom to fulfill their complex deployment scenarios in the field.
by Manohar R.