Battling the Bottleneck

By Mark Guinther

guinther_lg.jpg I have crossed to the other side of the generation gap. While growing up in Michigan, I remember my parents telling me about their primitive childhood experiences: walking 4 miles through the snow each way to school, uphill both ways, no TV, no microwave oven, only one family car… Now my own kids stare in disbelief when I tell them that I grew up in a home with only one phone attached to a wall, no worldwide web, no laptop, and no cell phones with text messaging. They visualize me as a caveman back in the Stone Age.

Clearly, technology has changed quite a bit within my lifetime. Personal connectivity has become ubiquitous, and despite the occasional temptation to toss our smartphones into the nearest river, we are better off for it. But our ever-increasing connectivity requirements and the constant flood of new devices have brought with them a demand for higher bandwidth network connections and more of them. We don’t get to see the networking equipment that processes our requests and delivers our content, but we know when it doesn’t seem to work fast enough. Those are the times we grumble about our network service, or device, or both. For service providers, unhappy customers lead to increased churn and less revenue. Service providers are furiously trying to deliver not only the best end-user devices, but also an infrastructure that will accommodate the increasing traffic load. This is where multi-core processing plays such a critical role. Conventional system designs cannot keep pace with the bandwidth explosion being driven by mobile devices, social networking, communications and web traffic. Networking equipment designed on multi-core processors offers the increased performance capability, lower space, weight and power requirements, and scalable designs that service providers need to win customers and reduce churn. Today at ESC Silicon Valley, Wind River announced a new Wind River Network Acceleration Platform that is designed to help equipment providers battle the bottleneck by delivering ultra-fast IP packet forwarding performance.

Multi-core processing is a disruptive technology, and the potential benefits definitely make it worthwhile to explore. Check out this Multi-core Network Acceleration whitepaper for a more detailed discussion on the technology. For years, Wind River has made investments in multi-core, from technology innovations to partnering with key industry leaders. The Network Acceleration Platform is just the first of Wind River’s multi-core acceleration solutions. As industries continue to adopt multi-core technology, it will become increasingly critical to work with experts who have the ability to maneuver the complexities and maximize the potential of multi-core processing.

Mark Guinther is Product Line Manager for Networking at Wind River. He has over twenty years of experience in the data/ voice/wireless networking industry including management positions at Alcatel and FORE Systems. He has a background in a broad range of technologies including IP routing, xDSL, network security, ATM, IPv6, VoIP, wireless, and next generation networks. Mark has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UC Berkeley and an MBA. Mark can be reached at