Implementation and Experimental Performance Evaluation of a Hybrid Interrupt-Handling Scheme

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Executive Summary

The performance of network hosts can be severely degraded when subjected to heavy traffic of today's Gigabit networks. This degradation occurs as a result of the interrupt overhead associated with the high rate of packet arrivals. NAPI, a packet reception mechanism integrated into the latest version of Linux networking subsystem, was designed to improve Linux performance to suit today's Gigabit traffic. NAPI is definitely a major step up from earlier reception mechanisms; however, NAPI has shortcomings and its performance can be further enhanced. A hybrid interrupt-handling scheme, which was recently proposed in, can better improve the performance of Gigabit network hosts. The hybrid scheme switches between interrupt Disabling-Enabling (DE) and polling (NAPI).

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