ISSN : 1796-2021
Volume : 2    Issue : 2    Date : March 2007

Scheduling Small Packets in IPSec Multi-accelerator Based Systems
Antonio Vincenzo Taddeo, Alberto Ferrante, and Vincenzo Piuri
Page(s): 53-60
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IPSec is a suite of protocols that adds security to communications at the IP level. Protocols within
the IPSec suite make extensive use of cryptographic algorithms. Since these algorithms are
computationally very intensive, some hardware acceleration is needed to support high throughput.
IPSec accelerator performance may heavily depend on the dimension of the packets to be
processed. In fact, when packets are small, the time needed to transfer data and to set up the
accelerators may exceed the one to process (e.g. to encrypt) the packets by software. In this paper
we present a packet scheduling algorithm that tackles this problem. Packets belonging to the same
Security Association are grouped before the transfer to the accelerators. Thus, the transfer and the
initialization time have a lower influence on the total processing time of the packets. This algorithm
also provides the capability of scheduling grouped packets over multiple cryptographic accelerators.
High-level simulations of the scheduling algorithm have been performed and the results for a
one-accelerator and for a two-accelerator system are also shown in this paper.

Index Terms
Cryptographic accelerators, packet scheduling algorithm, IPSec, small packets.