Limitations of current Ethernet switch architectures for enhanced flow control and service differentiation

James Aweya, Delfin Y. Montuno, Michel Ouellette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


One of the new challenges associated with full-duplex Ethernet is that of providing for network congestion control. The IEEE 802.3x Standard does not specify the switch architecture for implementing PAUSE flow control or at what point a MAC Control entity actually generates a PAUSE frame. This is an implementation issue that is product specific and as a result many different switch architectures are possible. There are also a number of limitations of the PAUSE flow control mechanism when implemented in Ethernet switches. These issues have not been adequately addressed in the literature. In addition, multimedia traffic such as real-time voice and streaming video are now being deployed over switched Ethernet networks, thus calling for congestion control with service differentiation for the various classes of traffic. Here we examine current Ethernet switch architectures and show that the PAUSE flow control when implemented in these architectures does not provide service selectivity and differentiation, making it unsuitable for real-time traffic.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)153-174
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Network Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009


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