Rethinking the Service Model: Scaling Ethernet to a Million Nodes


Ethernet has been a cornerstone networking technology for over 30 years. During this time, Ethernet has been extended from a shared-channel broadcast network to include support for sophisticated packet switching. Its plug-and-play setup, easy management, and self-configuration capability are the keys that make it compelling for enterprise applications. Looking ahead at enterprise networking requirements in the coming years, we examine the relevance and feasibility of scaling Ethernet to one million end systems. Unfortunately, Ethernet technologies today have neither the scalability nor the reliability needed to achieve this goal. We take the position that the fundamental problem lies in Ethernet’s outdated service model that it inherited from the original broadcast network design. This paper presents arguments to support our position and proposes changing Ethernet’s service model by replacing broadcast and station location learning with a new layer 2 directory service.

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@inproceedings{Myers2004RethinkingTS, title={Rethinking the Service Model: Scaling Ethernet to a Million Nodes}, author={Andy Myers and T. S. Eugene Ng and Hui Zhang}, year={2004} }