High Performance Regular Expression Matching on FPGA

  • Jiajia Yang
  • Lei JiangEmail author
  • Xu Bai
  • Qiong Dai
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 252)


Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) technology has been widely deployed in Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) to detect attacks and viruses. State-of-the-art NIDS uses Deterministic Finite Automata (DFA) to perform regular expression matching for its stable matching speed. However, traditional DFA algorithm’s throughput is limited by the input character’s width (usually one character per time). In this paper, we present an architecture named Parallel-DFA to accelerate regular expression matching by scanning multiple characters per time. Experimental results show that, our architecture can achieve as high as 1200 Gbps (1.17 Tbps) rate on current single Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) chip. This makes it a very practical solution for NIDS in 100G Ethernet standard network, which is currently the fastest approved standard of Ethernet. To the best of our knowledge, this is the fastest matching performance architecture on a single FPGA chip. Besides, the throughput is nearly 3 orders of magnitude (916\(\times \)) than that of original DFA implemented on software. Our architecture is about 183.2\(\times \) efficiency than that of original DFA.


Deep Packet Inspection Regular expression matching DFA FPGA Network security 



Supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project under Grant No. 2017YFB0803003, the National Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under grant No. 61402475.


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Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Cyber Security, Institute of Information EngineeringUniversity of Chinese Academy of Sciences, UCASBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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