|Publication number||USRE39026 E1|
|Application number||US 10/101,552|
|Publication date||Mar 21, 2006|
|Filing date||Jul 18, 2001|
|Priority date||Jan 31, 1996|
|Also published as||US5930261|
|Publication number||10101552, 101552, US RE39026 E1, US RE39026E1, US-E1-RE39026, USRE39026 E1, USRE39026E1|
|Inventors||David Shemla, Eyal Waldman, Yosi Solt|
|Original Assignee||Marvell International, Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (30), Non-Patent Citations (2), Referenced by (1), Classifications (12), Legal Events (3)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The present invention relates to data transfer protocols generally and to such protocols for implementation on a peripheral component interface (PCI) bus and within a network switch in particular.
A network switch creates a network among a plurality of nodes (connected to personal computers, workstations, etc.) and other network switches connected thereto. As shown in
Each node 10 sends packets of data to the network switch 12 which then routes the packets either to another of the nodes connected thereto or to a network switch to which the destination node is connected. In the latter case, the destination network switch then routes the packet to the destination node.
Each network switch also has to temporarily store the packets of data, in buffers 18, while the switch determines how, when and through which port to retransmit the packets. Each packet can be transmitted to only one destination address (a “unicast” packet) or to more than one unit (a “multicast” or “broadcast” packet). For multicast and broadcast packets, the switch typically stores the packet only once and transmits multiple copies of the packet to some (multicast) or all (broadcast) of its ports. Once the packet has been transmitted to all of its destinations, it can be removed from its buffer 18 or written over.
One example of a prior art process of transferring packets between network switches is illustrated in
The source network switch 12A, on its own schedule reads the packet from its temporary storage location, labeled 19A, and writes the packet to the main memory 17 (step 20). The source network switch 12A then provides (step 22) an indication to the CPU 15 that the transfer has finished. At some later point after the transfer has finished, the CPU 15 indicates (step 24) to the destination network switch 12B that the main memory 17 is storing its data.
When the destination network switch 12B receives the notification from the CPU 15, the destination network switch 12B begins the read process and takes control of the bus 16. The read process includes steps 26-32, as follows. In step 26, the destination network switch 12B determines where, in its temporary storage unit there is room for the incoming packet (for example location 19B). In step 28, destination network switch 12B asks the main memory 17 to read the packet and, when the packet is received, switch 12B places it (step 30) into the available location 19B. When the destination network switch 12B has finished the read operation, it, in step 32, sends a message to the CPU 15 that the packet was properly received. In step 34, the CPU 15 receives the receipt message and clears the location in the main memory 17 in which the data was previously stored.
Applicants have realized that, since read operations are limited by the speed of the main memory 17 (or of any other memory being read), while write operations occur at the speed of the bus 16, the utilization efficiency of the bus can be increased if data transfers are performed using only write operations.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a write-only bus transfer mechanism in which no read operations occur. In the present invention, data is written directly, such as by direct memory transfer, from one network switch to the other and a packet is not sent from the source network switch until the destination network switch has allocated a storage location for the packet and has notified the source network switch of the allocated storage location. Thus, the packet can immediately be written into the destination network switch as soon as it arrives at the destination network switch. Furthermore, since the storage space is allocated for the packet before the packet is ever sent, the source network switch does not need to wait for a receive notice before beginning to send the next packet.
In one embodiment, the method includes the steps of:
Additionally, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the step of writing a buffer allocation request includes the step of writing at least the address of the source communication unit and the size of the data to be transferred into a buffer allocation request register of the destination communication unit. Similarly, the second step of writing includes the step of writing at least the address of the allocated buffer and of the destination communication unit into a start of packet register in the source communication unit.
Moreover, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the steps of writing are performed by direct memory access transfer.
Further, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the source and destination communication units are physically separate units.
Finally, in accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, the source communication unit can write a) the data to be sent on a bus data line and b) at least the address of the destination communication unit and the address of a buffer location within the destination communication unit on a bus address line.
The present invention will be understood and appreciated more fully from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings in which:
Reference is now made to
The network switches of the present invention additionally have a plurality of registers 21 which are utilized during the data transfer operation. These registers can form part of the storage unit in which the buffers 18 are located or they can be separate therefrom. Furthermore, it is noted that the bus 16 has at least two lines, a data line 40 and an address line 42.
In the present invention, packets of data are not transferred until a buffer location 19 is allocated for them in the buffer 18 of the destination network switch 12B. Furthermore, since the transfer operation is a DMA transfer, a packet is directly written into the location allocated therefor.
The present discussion will consider the transfer of a single packet of data. It will be appreciated that many packets of data can be transferred in parallel by performing the operations described hereinbelow many times either in parallel or serially.
In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the present invention, when a packet of data is to be transferred, the source network switch 12A initially writes (step 50,
In the DMA transfer embodiment of the present invention, the source network switch 12A provides, on address line 42, the address of the “buffer request” register, the address of destination network switch 12B and its “return” address. Source network switch 12A provides, on data line 40, the size (or byte count) of the packet to be transferred and the buffer location 19A in which it is stored. The data of the data line is then written directly into the buffer request register.
In response to the buffer request message, the destination network switch 12B determines (step 52) the buffer location 19B in which the packet can be stored. It then writes (step 54) a “start of packet” message to the register 21a of the source network switch 12A which includes at least the location of the allocated buffer and the port numbers of the source and destination network switches. It can also include the byte count.
For example, in the DMA transfer embodiment of the present invention described hereinabove, the destination network switch 12B provides, on address line 42, the address of the “start of packet” register and the address of source network switch 12A. Destination network switch 12B provides, on data line 40, at least the following: the byte count of the packet to be transferred, the address 19B of the allocated buffer, the port number of the destination network switch 12B, and, for identification, the buffer location 19A in which the data is stored in the source network switch 12A and the port number of the source network switch 12A. As before, the data of the data line is then directly written into the start of packet register.
In response to receipt of the start of packet message in the start of packet register, the source network switch 12A writes (step 56) the packet of data to the allocated buffer location, followed by an “end of packet” message. Once the source network switch 12A has finished writing the end of packet message, it is free to send the next packet, beginning at step 50.
In the above described embodiment, the writing of the packet of data involves providing the address of the destination network switch 12B and the buffer location 19B on the address line 42 and the packet to be transferred on the data line 40. The transferred packet is then directly written into the allocated buffer location 19B. The end of packet message is written in a similar manner to the other messages. The address information includes the address of the end of packet register and the address of the destination network switch 12B. The data includes the port number of the destination network switch 12B, the buffer location 19B and the byte count.
When the packet arrives at the destination network switch 12B it directly writes (step 60) the packet into the allocated buffer location 19B, as per the address on the address line 42, until it receives the end of packet message for that allocated buffer location. The destination network switch 12B is now free to perform other operations until it receives a next buffer allocation request.
A comparison of the timing of
The source and network switches are free to perform other operations after they finish their writing operations.
It is also noted that, in the present invention, the source network switch 12A is free to operate on other packets once it has finished writing its packet, and its associated end of packet message, to the bus. The source network switch 12A does not need to ensure that the destination network switch 12B has successfully received the packet since, in the present invention, the address for the data (in the destination network switch) is known and is fully allocated prior to sending the packet; the packet would not be sent if there was no buffer location available for it. In the present invention, the time it takes for the destination network switch 12B to process the packet is not relevant to the operation of the source network switch 12A.
It will be appreciated that the data transfer mechanism described hereinabove can be implemented in any type of network switch or other communication device communicating along a bus, such as transferring data to a peripheral hard disk. For example, it can be implemented in an Ethernet switch, an asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) switch or a Token Ring switch. The present invention is may be implemented for peripheral component interface (PCI) busses or for any other bus.
It will further be appreciated by persons skilled in the art that the present invention is not limited to what has been particularly shown and described hereinabove. Rather the scope of the present invention is defined by the claims which follow:
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|U.S. Classification||370/428, 370/429, 370/236, 370/410, 710/56|
|International Classification||H04L12/40, H04L12/56, G06F13/42, H04L12/54|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L12/4625, G06F13/4217|
|May 1, 2003||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MARVELL SEMICONDUCTOR ISRAEL LTD., ISRAEL
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:GALILEO TECHNOLOGY LTD.;REEL/FRAME:014015/0846
Effective date: 20021215
|Jan 2, 2007||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jan 27, 2011||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12