Cell switching versus packet switching in input queued switches

Y. Ganjali, A. Keshavarzian, D. Shah
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Volume 13, No.4, pp. 782-789, 2005

Input Queued (IQ) switches have been well studied in the past two decades by researchers. The main problem concerning IQ switches is scheduling the switching fabric in order to transfer packets from input ports to output ports. Scheduling is relatively easier when all packets are of the same size. However, in practice, packets are of variable length. In the current implementation of switches, variable length packets are segmented into fixed length packets—also knowns as cells—for the purpose of scheduling. However, such cell-based switching comes with some significant disadvantages: (a) loss of bandwidth due to the existence of incomplete cells; and (b) additional overhead of segmentation of packets and re-assembly of cells. This is a strong motivation to study packet-based scheduling, i.e., scheduling the transfer of packets without segmenting them. The problem of packet scheduling was first considered by Marsan et al. They showed that under any admissible Bernoulli IID (independent and identically distributed) arrival traffic, a simple modification of the Maximum Weight Matching (MWM) algorithm achieves 100% throughput. In this paper, we first show that no work-conserving (i.e., maximal) packet-based algorithm is stable for arbitrary admissible arrival processes. Thus, the results of Marsan et al. are strongly dependent on the arrival distribution. Next, we propose a new class of “waiting” algorithms. We show that the “waiting”-MWM algorithm is stable for any admissible traffic using the fluid limit technique. We would like to note that the algorithms presented in this paper are distribution independent or universal. The algorithms and proof methods of this paper may be useful in the context of other scheduling problems. Index Terms—Cellswitching, packetswitching, scheduling, variable length packets.