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Workload distribution is critical to the performance of network processor based parallel forwarding systems. Scheduling schemes that operate at the packet level, e.g., round-robin cannot preserve packet-ordering within individual TCP connections. Dynamic load balancing is a popular recent technique that protects ISP networks from sudden congestion caused by load spikes or link failures. Dynamic load balancing protocols, however, require schemes for splitting traffic across multiple paths at a-ne granularity. Current splitting schemes present a tussle between slicing granularity and packet reordering. Splitting traffic at the granularity of packets quickly and accurately assigns the desired traffic share to each path, but can reorder packets within a TCP flow, confusing TCP congestion control.
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