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Ternary Content-Addressable Memories (TCAMs) are increasingly used for high-speed packet classification. TCAMs compare packet headers against all rules in a classification database in parallel and thus provide high throughput. TCAMs are not well-suited, however, for representing rules that contain range fields and prior art algorithms typically represent each such rule by multiple TCAM entries. The resulting range expansion can dramatically reduce TCAM utilization because it introduces a large number of redundant TCAM entries. This redundancy can be mitigated by making use of extra bits, available in each TCAM entry.
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