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Packet classification is the core mechanism that enables many networking services on the Internet such as firewall packet filtering and traffic accounting. Using Ternary Content Addressable Memories (TCAMs) to perform high-speed packet classification has become the de facto standard in industry. TCAMs classify packets in constant time by comparing a packet with all classification rules of ternary encoding in parallel. Despite their high speed, TCAMs suffer from the well-known interval expansion problem. As packet classification rules usually have fields specified as intervals, converting such rules to TCAM-compatible rules may result in an explosive increase in the number of rules. This is not a problem if TCAMs have large capacities.
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