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UTLB: A Mechanism for Address Translation On Network Interfaces

Report ID:
May 1998
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An important aspect of a high-speed network system is the ability to
transfer data directly between the network interface and the
application buffers. Such a direct data path requires the network
interface to ``know'' the virtual-to-physical address translation of a
user buffer, i.e., the physical memory location of the buffer. This
paper presents an efficient address translation architecture,
User-managed TLB (UTLB), which eliminates system calls and device
interrupts from the common path of communication. With the UTLB
architecture, the network interface can translate a virtual page
address in 0.5 microseconds in the best case. The average overhead of
an address translation is less than 2 microseconds under the heavy
load of multi-programming on a 4-way SMP. The paper describes the
design of the UTLB and its implementation as part of a custom
communication layer. Results from micro-measurements and trace-driven
analysis are given to evaluate the effectiveness of the UTLB

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