RiceNIC: A reconfigurable network interface for experimental research and education


Electrical and Computer Engineering

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Publication Title

Proceedings of the 2007 Workshop on Experimental Computer Science



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The evaluation of new network server architectures is usually performed experimentally using either a simulator or a hardware prototype. Accurate simulation of the hardware-software interface within the network subsystem is challenging due to the interactions of multiple asynchronous systems. Small timing inaccuracies in such a system can perturb the hardware and software state yielding potentially misleading results. Hardware prototypes show more promise because they are real-world implementations, not simplifications. Existing Ethernet network interface cards (NICs) are unsuitable for prototyping as they lack the capability and/or flexibility for advanced networking research. RiceNIC is an open network interface prototyping platform for public use. This reconfigurable and programmable Gigabit Ethernet NIC is designed to address the dilemma of how to accurately evaluate new ideas in network server architecture, and is built for use in experimental research and education. The flexibility and capability of RiceNIC has proven invaluable in recent research efforts. Copyright 2007 ACM.