Ethernet has become the most popular networking protocol for local area networks (LANs). As networking has grown in popularity, Ethernet network link speeds have also been increasing. The growth of Ethernet from 10 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s has surpassed the growth of microprocessor performance in mainstream servers and computers. A fundamental obstacle to improving network performance is that servers were designed for computing rather than input and output (I/O). The Internet revolution has drastically changed server requirements, and I/O is becoming a major bottleneck in delivering high-speed computing. The main reason for the bottleneck is the TCP/IP stack being processed at a rate less than the network speed. This technical paper from the 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance introduces the TCP/IP offload Engine (TOE), one of the technologies that can reduce the amount of TCP/IP processing handled by microprocessors and server I/O subsystems, and thus ease server networking bottleneck.

For more information on 10GbE technology, visit 10 Gigabit Ethernet Alliance’s Web site.