The architecture of rattlesnake: A real-time multimedia network
This paper presents the architecture and implementation of the Rattlesnake network. It will be used as a platform for ATM communication, and will provide communication facilities for demanding distributed real-time multimedia applications.
Workstations are connected via point-to-point (TAXI) links to a switching fabric. The fabric consists of switching elements, interconnected in a Kautz topology. Kautz networks have desirable features such as: small diameter, fixed degree, fault tolerant and have a self routing capability even if some links fail.
The transfer mode is based on hybrid TDM, a combination of STM (circuit switching) and ATM (packet switching). For hard real-time traffic (e.g. voice and video) STM like end-to-end logical connections can be set up to guarantee a bounded latency. For non real-time traffic (e.g. file transfer), that has a more bursty nature, we use ATM with store- and-forward routing to achieve a high network utilisation. The nosy worms protocol is used to avoid deadlock.
The network uses real-time virtual channels. These channels can be claimed to reserve bandwidth and to guarantee a bounded latency. For the implementation we use off-the-shelf programmable components (FPGAs).
KeywordsATM multimedia communications low latency networks real-time Kautz graphs
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