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Next Generation Network Packet Broker based on latest P4 programmable chips

  • 4 min read

Network Performance Monitoring and Diagnostics (NPMD) provide insight into the network, help in proactive troubleshooting which can identify the root cause of performance and security issues. NPMD tools can assure service quality in public/private cloud services and LTE/4G/5G mobile network services.

Over the years, networks have become increasingly complex due to the adoption of transformational technologies like 5G, SDN/NFV, SD-WAN, virtualization, and IoT. This has created ‘blind spots’. Blind spots are network traffic that is not visible to network monitoring, security and analytics tools and can hide and obscure network performance and security threats.

As a result, network visibility solutions have become essential components of network monitoring, security and business continuity solutions that are needed for the successful outcomes of major contemporary IT initiatives.

Advanced Network Packet Brokers for High Performance Networks

The network packet broker technology has experienced some significant changes over the past 18 years. Cubro’s advanced NPBs are designed to meet the needs of complex networks and support numerous tunnelling protocols including MPLS, MPLS over UDP, GRE, NVGRE, VXLAN, and GTP. The key to realizing such an advanced feature set is that our hardware is not based on standard switching silicon, but designed from the ground up to truly function as a Next Generation Network Packet Broker.

Cubro’s high-performance NPBs make existing security and performance tools work better, enabling users to get more out of their investments and lengthen the life of these tools.

Cubro introduced these advanced network packet brokers in 2018 as its fifth-generation (G5) network packet broker family. These G5 network packet brokers are based on Cavium Xpliant programmable chipset and offer superior features compared to Broadcom chipset based products. These advanced network packet brokers include features like tunnel termination and inside tunnel filtering and a number of simultaneous rules.

Moving forward to Build Future Proof Networks

Considering the requirements of todays’ networks like 4G/5G, Cubro has decided to launch its next-generation G5+ packet brokers which will further enhance our market position in the high-end 100G Advanced Network Packet Broker market.

Cubro will soon introduce new products in the market which are based on Intel® Tofino chipset, the latest generation of P4 programmable Ethernet-Switch ASIC. With Intel® Tofino chipset, Cubro’s next generation packet brokers will be able to further scale performance such as increased packet per second processing and improve feature set while developing new functions. For instance, the packet brokers can perform VXLAN VNI and inner IP filtering at the same time. They would also offer an increased number of filter rules.

“G5+ Packet Brokers are based on the same technology as classic G5 devices but come with the Tofino chipset. The configuration and usability are unchanged and everyone who is familiar with our G5 family would not have any trouble using G5+ products. The need to process/filter/load-balance Terabit of data has been there for a couple of years and G5+ packet brokers bring this to the next level by combining existing features into one single chassis.”

Christian Ferenz, CEO, Cubro

The Tofino chipset is a P4 programmable Ethernet Chip that allows looking much deeper into the single ethernet frames. Advanced filtering based on Keyword search inside the Payload is just one example of several other advantages.

Many Packet Broker vendors are still committed to the Broadcom chipset which are designed for conventional switches but not for Packet Broker use cases. On the contrary, Cubro’s G5+ series extends its range of supported tunnel encapsulation protocols (Cisco Fabric Path & IPinIP). Therefore, it can be used in a wider range of overlay and virtual environments.