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Modelling and Analysis of High Bandwidth Networks

Simon W. Farrow


This thesis reviews the competing technologies in the area of high speed, low latency networking. These technologies are compared and contrasted with Holostream, a product in development by Power X Ltd. Comparisons are made based on scalability, bandwidth and flexibility.

The Holostream Protocol is modelled and compared with other existing protocols. It is shown that centralised management of bandwidth is not as effective at providing very low latency connections, the aim of the Holostream Protocol, as intelligent Network Interface Cards that implement protocols in hardware. However, the results also show that when operating at lower loads centralised management can be more efficient and predictable from a high level perspective.

All of the models were created using LARD, an asynchronous hardware modelling language developed by the Amulet Group at Manchester University. This allowed the complex structures encountered when building network models to be manipulated with much greater ease. LARD also facilitated accurate timing of the models as it has timing facilities built in.

The conclusion drawn from this is that for very high performance in specialised circumstances consistency of behaviour cannot always be guaranteed. In these circumstances, however, it may not be necessary as definitions of Quality of Service change for different environments.