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These days, Commodity-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) hardware and software are used to build high-end and powerful workstations and servers to be deployed in today's local area networks of private homes and small-to medium-sized business. Typically, these servers are multipurpose and shared - running networking functionalities involving IP packet forwarding in addition to other CPU intensive applications. In this paper, the authors study and investigate the impact of running CPU-bound applications on the performance of IP packet forwarding. They measure and compare the impact and performance for the two operating systems of choice for home and small-business users, namely Linux and Windows XP. The performance is studied in terms of key performance metrics which include throughput, packet loss, round-trip delay, and CPU availability.
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