High-Performance Network Data-Packet Classification Using Embedded Content-Addressable Memory (TCAMs)

Embedding ternary content addressable memory can lower cost, power and reduce real estate requirements on a PCB.

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With port speeds exceeding 100Gbps, route lookups that are fundamental to all routers have relied on ternary content addressable memories (TCAMs) to provide a lookup response within a clock cycle. However, TCAMs in discrete form are expensive, consume a lot of power, compete for precious real estate on the printed circuit board (PCB), and in some applications lack required flexibility. Embedding a TCAM block along with the rest of the system in a single device should overcome these disadvantages. This paper provides an overview of advantages of embedded TCAMs and describes a few applications that could particularly benefit from embedded TCAM technology.

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