Evaluating Network Processors using NetBench

Gokhan Memik, William H. Mangione-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Network Processor market is one of the fastest growing segments of the microprocessor industry today. In spite of this increasing market importance, there does not exist a common framework to compare the performance of different Network Processor designs. Our primary goal in this study is to fill this gap by creating the NetBench benchmarking suite. NetBench is designed to represent Network Processor workloads. It contains 11 programs that form 18 different applications. The programs are selected from all levels of packet processing: Small, low-level code fragments as well as large application-level programs are included in the suite. These applications are representative of the Network Processor applications in the market. Using the SimpleScalar simulator to model an ARM processor, we study these programs in detail and compare key characteristics, such as instructions per cycle, instruction distribution, cache behavior, and branch prediction accuracy with the programs from MediaBench. Using statistical analysis, we show that the simulation results for the programs in NetBench have significantly different characteristics than programs in MediaBench. Finally, we present performance measurements from Intel IXP1200 Network Processor to show how NetBench can be utilized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-471
JournalACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems (TECS)
StatePublished - May 2006


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