• Researchers propose new type of datacentre router

Scientists at MIT have unveiled proposals for a new type of router that could provide faster networks, and more adaptable traffic management for datacentres.

MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has released two papers which detail how new types of routers could be programmed without slowing down traffic speeds. This would solve the problem of having to choose between adaptability and speed.

Jennifer Rexford, a professor of computer science at Princeton, explained: “There are a lot of problems in computer networking we’ve never been able to solve at the speed that traffic actually flows through the network, because there wasn’t support directly in the network devices to analyse the traffic or act on the traffic as it arrives.”

One solution that the papers proposed is changes to router chip architecture. The new kind of architecture would replace complex algorithms with simple circuit elements which can be programmed in response to real-time conditions.

Jennifer added that the proposals, “really point to next-generation switch hardware that will be much, much more capable – and more importantly, more programmable, so that we can really change how the network functions without having to replace the equipment inside the network.”